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How to Remove Pantry Odors

Among the many annoyances in daily life, strong odors in various areas of your home can be one of them. Say you just cooked fish in your kitchen – how do you get rid of the smell that lingers for days afterward? This is especially relevant to those who like to spend time in the kitchen, strong odors can become a nuisance extremely quickly.

Luckily, there are a several ways to absorb and reduce strong odors naturally. That’s right – you can put away the Febreze because there are plenty of other options to return areas of your home to their regular, nothing, smell.

One problem area for many people is in the pantry. Because you are storing many different types of food, for longer periods of time, the pantry is one of the number one places where strong and unpleasant odors may linger. If you’re in a disaster situation, and stuck in the house, you happen to have to go to into the pantry often as most people do. This can quickly become an annoying and unpleasant task.

So, making sure to clean the pantry often and rotating your stock to avoid items that might go bad first, is always a great way to prevent unwanted smells from drifting further. If you happen to have a hidden pantry, then you definitely do not want strong smells alerting people to it.

This is why it is so imperative to know how to get rid of these unpleasant odors in the pantry, and just about anywhere else.

baking soda

Baking Soda

The tried and true method for removing unpleasant smells has been, for a very long time, baking soda. Baking soda is often touted as a remedy for curing terrible smells because it does not just mask odors – it absorbs them completely, leaving your pantry, fridge, or any other area of your home, completely smell-free.

So, what is baking soda? First off, baking soda is sodium bicarbonate (sodium hydrogen carbonate). You’ll probably notice that this chemical makeup is reminiscent of regular kitchen salt (sodium chloride); that’s because baking soda technically is a salt.

Though baking soda typically appears as a powder, it is a crystalline like we know most salts to be. As you’ve probably noticed, baking soda is used for a great many things in the household – from cooking, to cleaning, to pest control, and many more.

This is why there are several methods to freshen up your pantry or refrigerator using baking soda:

  • The most commonly cited method is leaving a shallow dish of baking soda uncovered to the air in your pantry. Replace this container as necessary.
  • If you find that your pantry smells because something has spilled or rotted in it, you may discover that you have to clean the surface itself before the smell will truly go away. Do this by mixing a solution of baking soda and hot water (a quarter cup to a half cup of baking soda dissolved in a few cups of hot water) and using this mixture to scrub the surface. Any deeply ingrained smell won’t stand a chance.
  • If you keep your garbage can in your pantry, you can sprinkle a few tablespoons of baking soda into it to absorb any malodors in the trash as well.

coffee

Coffee

If you’ve ever gone shopping for perfume, you’ll know that coffee grounds are often placed in small containers on shelves to “clear your palette”, so to speak, for smelling different perfumes. Luckily for us, coffee grounds can be used to clear up more than perfume smells.

Similar to baking soda, coffee beans, or coffee grounds, can be used to absorb bad smells in areas of your home. However, unlike baking soda coffee grounds will be fragrant on their own, so this is a great method if you simply enjoy the smell of coffee. If you don’t like the scent of coffee, then you might want to try one of our other solutions.

The best way to use coffee as a deodorizer for your pantry is to place a few grounds, or whole beans, in a shallow dish and leave this dish in your pantry. Replace the grounds (or beans) as needed. Unfortunately, this will leave you with stale coffee, but if you have coffee that is already stale, this is a great way to get some use out of it.

Another tip is that if you have some leftover brewed coffee grounds, don’t throw those either. They can be used to scrub shelving, bins and floors that have had rotting garlic, onions, potatoes, or other strong offensive odors that could draw the attention of sensitive noses.

vinegar

Vinegar

Another miracle worker in the household world is vinegar, which has a variety of uses, from applications in gardening to cooking and cleaning. You can spray a concoction of vinegar and water onto surfaces to clean and disinfect them. So, it makes sense that this versatile acid would have deodorizing properties as well.

The reason for this is that since most smells have a pH level of above 7, which makes them a base. Vinegar is an acid. So, when vinegar molecules come into contact with odor molecules, an acid-base neutralization occurs; thus, eliminating both odors – in this case, your bad smell, and eventually, the smell of vinegar).

Vinegar smells on its own, but because of the way it eliminates odors, the vinegar smell does go away after some time. There are many ways to utilize vinegar for removing bad smells from your pantry.

  • Like coffee and baking soda, you can simply leave a shallow container of white vinegar or cider vinegar open in your pantry to neutralize bad odors. You can apply this method to any part of the house where you want to eliminate odors – not just the pantry!
  • Many people suggest simmering about a cup of white vinegar on your stove for roughly an hour to neutralize odors throughout the whole house. Make sure you leave your pantry door open so that it works in there as well.
  • For the really ingrained odors, such as rotting food or spilt items on a surface, you can also use a vinegar-water solution to scrub the area and deodorize it. There are many formulations for cleaners involving vinegar; one common ratio is one cup of white vinegar to a gallon of water. You can do some trial and error to see what ratios work the best for you. However, its recommended that you do some research beforehand to make sure that vinegar works well with the type of surface that you need to clean, as not all surfaces are compatible with vinegar.

Vinegar remains one of the most useful household items due to how diverse its uses are. Deodorizing your pantry is just one of many other uses for the chemical.

vanilla extract

photo: Brian Boucheron via Flickr

Vanilla Extract

Unfortunately, vanilla extract doesn’t have quite as many deodorizing properties as the methods listed above. Nonetheless, it does have its own strong and delightful smell that is excellent at masking malodors anywhere in the home. If you like how vanilla smells, then this might be the perfect tactic for you.

There’s a wide range of methods for using vanilla extract to mask bad odors, and some of these work better for larger areas, such as the entire kitchen or home, rather than just one space, like the pantry. However, if you keep your pantry door open while attempting these, you should see a difference in the smell throughout.

  • Bake a small amount of vanilla extract (two tablespoons) at 300 degrees Fahrenheit in an oven safe container for 20 minutes. Make sure that you place the container on the middle rack of the oven. Don’t forget it’s there, or else it could burn.
  • Similarly, you can also simmer vanilla on your stovetop for 20 minutes, or microwave it on high for a minute. Once the smell of vanilla has propagated to your satisfaction, dump out the extract and enjoy your new and pleasant-smelling home.
  • If your pantry has a lightbulb in it, you can sprinkle a few drops onto it and turn on the lights. The heat from the lightbulb will cause the extract to evaporate, scenting the air with a delicious fragrance. You can also buy rings that go around lightbulbs to disperse the smell.

While this method won’t eliminate the odor quite as thoroughly because it does not absorb or neutralize smell as well as the previous two methods. Vanilla is a strong enough ingredient to mask odor fairly well, so that your house smells pleasant instead of unpleasant. If you’re aiming for a pantry that smells like nothing, this may not be the best method for you.

dried mustard

photo byt Ron Dollete via Flickr

Dried Mustard, Sage, Mints, or Other Herbs

Add a half-cup of dried mustard into 1.5 gallons of water. Wet a sponge, paper towel, or old rag with this solution and wipe down walls, shelves, and flooring to remove the smells. You can also pour this up into a spray bottle to make applying easier.

salt

Salt

Ordinary table salt absorbs orders, as well as makes a nice scrubbing agent.

  • Sprinkle the salt on any spills or areas where jars of canned food items have gone bad and exploded in the pantry. You just need to add a little bit of water to make a paste. Softly scrub the area to remove the cause of the odor.

lemon

Lemons, and Other Acidic Fruits

Many people have heard of using lemons, and the successes of it. The ascorbic acid in many citrus fruits will eliminate rank odors.

  • Cut the lemon or citrus fruit in half and place it with the cut side up in a bowl of water. Leave this in the corners of the pantry and allow it to work its magic.
  • Another way to use citrus fruits is to make a pomander. These are extremely simple to make. Just stick cloves into the fruit until the surface is completely covered. Tie a string or twine around it and hang it up in your pantry. This will keep things smelling fresh for several years.
  • You can also mix lemon juice and water for another cleaning solution to get rid of ingrained odors on surfaces.

Miscellaneous Methods & Final Notes

The best part about many of these solutions is that these items are generally easily found in your home. Almost everyone has access to at least one of these solutions – even if you find yourself in a disaster situation and you’re stuck in your home. Now, you know that there are plenty of methods available to you for eliminating bad odors, which is great in case you’re stuck for a while.

Additionally, there are some other miscellaneous methods that can help reduce odors in your pantry.

  • Placing a dryer sheet in your pantry, or anywhere else, where you want to deodorize – even the inside of a musty book. A dryer sheet left overnight will deodorize it.
  • You can simmer a mixture of spices on your stove to get rid of bad odors throughout your home and make your home smell like autumn. Achieve this by simmering lemon or orange peels, cinnamon sticks, and cloves in water for as long as it takes to smell better, or to the scent of your liking. Make sure to leave your pantry door open or place the steaming pot of spices on a towel in the middle of your pantry. Close the door to trap the aroma inside. After a little time, you can remove the pot from the pantry after it has cooled and the scent has died down. You can also reheat this mixture to use in another room.
  • Adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil in the corners of your pantry can mask any light malodors as eucalyptus is antibacterial and antifungal.

As you can see, there are a range of methods available for deodorizing your pantry and various areas of your home. If you find yourself stuck at home for a long period of time, like when the SHTF, then making sure your shelter is a pleasant place to be can make all the difference. These methods, through some easily accessible materials, you can be comfortable within a pleasant-smelling home.

The post How to Remove Pantry Odors appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

Using Ground Covering Edibles in Survival Gardening

Have you ever cultivated a garden for yourself? Did you do it thinking about being self-reliant, thinking it will be a strong source of food for years to come with just a little daily effort to manage it? Did you plant it in neat little rows that you dug inside a carefully measured plot of land protected by chicken fence to keep out pests? Did you spray a pesticide on your plants to protect them in their newly fertilized soil after a trip to the local store? Are you going to be able to do ANY of that after SHTF? No, as that will only show others where your food is. So the approach will be the exact opposite.

You can find your answer by taking a look at cultures and peoples who lived without modern conveniences and modify that to be a self-sustaining garden that not only survives on its own, but can provide you with the means of survival: a Survival Garden.

What is a Survival Garden?

As nature has been growing nuts, berries, herbs and medicinal plants with success for millions of years without man’s help and in many ways, the plants support one another in that growth, this is what we need to consider when planning a garden for survival. Plants grow in one of 3 dimensions. Some will be taller, some will be shorter and some will be the filler or protection between. These are the ground covering plants and what we will be focusing on today.

If you had planted a survival garden, you would still have a source of food that an untrained eye won’t recognize. By choosing the right plants for your garden, you will be able to leave nature to do a job it has been doing without the aid of man for many generations – simply growing food for you with no input.

What plants do I choose for a survival garden?

The ideal species of plant to use in your survival garden would be a perennial – a plant you plant once, will grow for multiple years, and that will produce food every year without the need for human intervention to replant it like with other seeding plants.

You will also have natural camouflage, as letting the survival garden grow naturally will make it look like organic growth instead of a manmade garden, throwing potential food thieves off the trail. These are the fillers, the ground covering plants. To make the garden one step further for survival, I would suggest consider using edible ground covering plants to make your survival garden that more bountiful.

Why use ground cover?

The main reason you need ground covering plants is in the life cycle of the perennial. Once they are planted, they should return year after year true. But you need to protect them and the soil they are in for that to happen. Ground covering plants can help in a few different ways, helping boost the overall health of the garden year after year.

  • Plants that are ground covering can provide herbs, medicine and fruit year round
  • Ground cover helps protect the soil from erosion
  • They help transition soil from full sun to shaded allowing for more types of perennials to be planted
  • They protect the perennials from weather and exposure
  • Some ground covering plants can attract or repel bugs

What should you look for in a ground covering edible plant?

A good ground covering plant is chosen for its ability to be suited to the conditions of the area, its low maintenance and its ability to provide a healthy coexistence among the other plants in your survival garden. Most ground covering plants can be in one of two categories, a clumper or a carpeter.

  • Clumpers spread out leaves as they grow, making clumps of shade in varying heights. The roots are underground or at the point of the base of the plant.
  • A carpeter does not need division and it quickly covers surfaces at one height, making an even blanket of ground cover.

The best way to fill out space while awaiting the garden to grow and being able to harvest edibles is using herbaceous ground covering plants.

Ground Covering Edibles

The following is a list of the best low maintenance ground covering edible plants for consideration your garden:

Oregano

One facet of the mint family, oregano or as those in the bush call it “wild marjoram”, is a hardy ground covering edible. It is pretty drought tolerant; making it favorable for those in dry climates, as it also likes full sun. Oregano is a clumpy type of ground covering when left wild, making it good cover and protection in gardens. It has a lot of eastern medicinal value, including one that modern researchers have applied to livestock, especially cows. It reduces gas, specifically methane by up to 40% while it also increased milk production in grass-fed cows, according to a report and story by Livescience.

Oregano has been mentioned in most folk medicines and goes back as far as the times of Hippocrates. Oregano oil is crucial oil for the development of cooking and preserving food since ancient texts recorded such.

Oregano is used in:

  • Numbing topical medicines
  • Canning many sauces
  • Meat products
  • Perfumes
  • Antifungal applications
  • Antiseptic
  • Soaps
  • Detergents
  • Can be used dry or fresh
  • Alcoholic beverages as it has polyphenols
  • Hormone therapy
  • Anticancer medicines
  • Anticancer dietary supplements

Oregano types:

  • Hot and spicy
  • Golden
  • Greek
  • Mexican
  • Cuban

creeping rosemary

Creeping rosemary

From the mint family, this variety of rosemary is similar in taste to the upright growing culinary herb, and is quite popular as an edible ground covering plant. It is very prominent in arid regions for providing shade in a garden when coexisting with many garden varieties of vegetables, as it is a drought tolerant plant that is also evergreen. It can be propagate quite well in the full sun through individual cuttings or using established adults for divisional piecing. It has a very fibrous rooting system so it’s very good for retaining soil. It would be great for sloped or steep gardens.

The plants make up is 20% camphor so it can be a culinary herb or medicinal additive to any garden.

Uses in history have included:

  • Medicine
  • Herbal tea
  • Essential oil extracts
  • Antiseptic
  • Astringent
  • Treatment of inflammatory disorders
  • Perfumes
  • Improves shelf life of oils and foods

Types for ground cover:

  • Prostrates
  • Irene
  • Pyramidalis
  • Albus

mint

Mint

If you have a nice moist place that needs filling, you may want to consider one of the varieties of mint or what some bushcraft people call “deadnettle.”. For shady areas, this edible quickly covering ground plant is quite easy to acquire and grow.

Mint spreads rapidly with just a few stem cuttings, so be sure to have it in a place you don’t mind it taking over between plants. Mint varieties can cross pollinate, so to retain the unique flavor and characteristics of each strain, do not plant too close together. The many flavor profiles can enhance any soups, drinks, salads or teas.

There are hundreds of types. Some of the nicer varieties I like are:

  • Spearmint
  • Peppermint
  • Pineapple mint
  • Chocolate mint
  • Brazilian mint
  • Mint sage
  • Apple mint
  • Orange mint
  • Ginger mint

Uses in history have included:

  • Medicine
  • Herbal tea
  • Essential oil extracts
  • Antiseptic
  • Astringent
  • Treatment of inflammatory disorders

thyme

Thyme

If you have paths or need a plant that can stand up to foot traffic and isn’t fragile at all, try thyme. Thyme is usually seen along garden paths or edging survival or urban gardens for this very reason, it holds up and helps protect young plants and helps stop soil from being spread too thin or damaged in heavy rains.

Thyme lends itself to a growth pattern that is straight and upright, or it has creeping varieties that are more carpeting in growth like mint.

Simple cuttings or division of adult plants can be used for this flourishing edible ground cover.

Uses include:

  • Culinary seasoning
  • Ornamental
  • Aromatics
  • Medicinal

Some varieties are:

  • Coconut Thyme
  • Lemon frost thyme
  • Silver needle thyme
  • Highland cream thyme
  • Caraway thyme
  • Lime thyme

Woodland strawberries

Recorded as being consumed since the Stone Age, wild strawberries can make a great fruit bearing ground covering plant. They have a long flowering period and can form fruit on runners or in clusters known as crowns. They can be grown by seeds or plant division and the fruit may be white or red. Woodlawn strawberries are abundant producers of fragrant strong tasting fruit and can grow in shady, moist spots that may be too wet for most garden seedlings.

  • Jams
  • Sauces
  • Liquors
  • Medicinal

Final thoughts

In the future when there may be potentially no refrigeration or electricity, having survival gardens that produce fruit and edible foliage year round can make all the difference. Saving those gardens from erosion and predation, while hiding them in plain sight may take some planning, but it is well worth the effort.

The post Using Ground Covering Edibles in Survival Gardening appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

DIY Air Conditioners on the Cheap

There are a number of challenges to living off the grid, and in a disaster situation, there is unfortunately no way to get around having to deal with them. A lot of everyday conveniences that we take for granted require electricity and gas. In such situations, simple tasks can become much more difficult.

One thing that we commonly take for granted is air conditioning. For those of us in hotter areas, like Arizona or Nevada, living without it is unthinkable, but if SHTF, that may be one of the first things you have to give up. The power draw of an air conditioning system can be too much to sustain privately, especially when you may have other things you need to power to survive.

Luckily, there are a few options for cooling your home to solve this problem. There are a lot of ways to make very low power air conditioning units by yourself. Some of them run on rechargeable batteries, while some even run directly on solar power.

Here are a few DIY air conditioners that will keep you cool even without a lot of power usage.

Styrofoam Ice Chest Air Conditioner (Battery-Powered)

This air conditioning unit is super easy to assemble, and get the parts for it. In fact, you do not need anything more than the following:

  • Styrofoam ice chest
  • Ice or frozen bottles of water to fill the chest
  • A knife
  • A piece of dryer tubing
  • A battery-powered fan with a diameter smaller than the lid of the cooler.
  • Batteries for the fan.

So long as you have some supply of batteries, preferably rechargeable, on hand, even in a disaster situation this is a great option for cooling small areas of your home.

When we say fan, we mean just a regular old blade fan encased in wire. Again, it needs to be small enough to fit comfortably within the rectangular-shaped lid of the cooler.

The amount of cooling this provides will depend mostly on the width of the tube and the size of the cooler. A larger cooler will blow cold air for longer because you can use more ice or frozen bottles of water, which will take longer to melt. Using the frozen bottles of water means you can refreeze them later to use again. The wider the tube, more air can blow out of it.

The setup for this cooler is pretty predictable. First, you fill the cooler with ice or frozen bottles of water, but not so much that it’s totally full. You will want a little bit of space between the lid of the cooler and the ice when you close the lid (we will explain why later).

Next, cut a hole the size of the dryer tube in the lid of the cooler, off to one side. Next, cut a hole only slightly smaller than the diameter of the battery-powered fan close to the center of the lid. The fan will be resting atop this hole, so it should not be so big that the fan falls inside the cooler. The fan should be stationary too. Oscillating fans would not work for this project.

Insert the dryer tube into its hole, and turn it on and rest the fan on top of the hole that you cut for it. Ideally, the fan will be small enough that it doesn’t rest over the side of the cooler. You want as much of the fan blowing into the cooler as possible.

What happens is the ice cools the air in the cooler, and the fan circulates it out of the cooler through the dryer tube. You need enough space for air in the cooler so that it can actually become colder, so you don’t want to overfill it with ice.

These can cool a small to medium sized room depending on the size of the dryer tube. The cool air will last as long as the ice (and fan battery) does.

Bucket Air Conditioner (Battery-Powered)

This air conditioner is a very similar concept to the Styrofoam cooler air conditioner, except that it operates in a bucket and can provide cool air for much longer. For this you’ll need any old five-gallon bucket, Styrofoam (a strip thin enough to line the bucket completely), a battery-powered fan (smaller in diameter than the lid of the bucket) PVC pipe (about a foot), a knife, a two-gallon jug of water, and a hole saw.

First, cut three holes the width of your PVC pipe on the side of the bucket with the hole saw. Line the bucket with the Styrofoam, and re-cut the holes in the same position. Leave the Styrofoam lining the bucket.

Next, cut a hole in the top of the bucket about the diameter of the fan, but not so large that the fan falls into the bucket. You should be able to secure the fan in the hole without movement. Your next step is to cut the PVC pipe into three equal pieces, and fit the pieces into the three holes that you cut.

The final step is just to freeze your jug of water, and then place it in the bucket. All you have to do is secure the lid of the bucket and turn on the fan. The air conditioner will last as long as the water in the jug is frozen and as long as the battery in the fan lasts.

Much like the previous suggestion, this air conditioner works by circulating the cooled air around the frozen water jug. Unlike the previous air conditioner, this one works for around six hours. It can last longer if you can achieve a better seal around the PVC pipe and the fan.

DIY Swamp Cooler

Aside from these, however, there are many other tutorials on building more complicated low-power swamp coolers. Below is one such air conditioner.

Most of these swamp coolers require significantly more equipment and explanation; however, it’s fairly easy to find solar-powered versions and even battery-powered versions. If you’re looking for a cooler that might hold out a bit better over time, these sorts of air conditioners might work better for you.

If you need something that is absolutely zero power; then one such method that has recently been made popular was created by Ashis Paul, an inventor from Bangladesh.

This cooler requires no power whatsoever, and uses parts that are easily accessible for most people. It is based on the idea that moving air reduces the temperature. All you have to do is install it in a window and enjoy the breeze.

The first thing to note about the Eco-Cooler is that it is more a fan than a true air conditioner (despite what the video says). It makes your home feel cooler by increasing the velocity of the air passing through it – like a fan. However, unlike regular house fans, the Eco-Cooler uses no electricity whatsoever.

The Eco-Cooler is extremely simple and requires very minimal materials – in fact, only two. The first material you will need is a board cut to the size of one of your windows. Before starting this project, you should choose a window that gets the best wind flow during the hotter seasons.

Your board should be about two millimeters thick, and made of a sturdy material. After all, this is going in the window of your house, so anything that can’t stand up to a little rain in the summer probably will not work very well. One type of material that works really well is white foam board.

Part of the reason this feels cooler in the summer is simply the fact that the white board insulates the home, so the ambient air temperature in your home won’t be as hot as without it. The next step is to collect plastic bottles of about the same size. Supposedly, the larger the difference between the circumference of the bottleneck and the body of the bottle is better, so two-liter soda bottles will work well.

Next, cut the base of the bottles off so that you have homemade plastic funnels. Cut holes in the white foam board to the size of the rim of the bottle; then push the bottles through the foam board at evenly spaced intervals. When you’re finished, the body of the bottles should be close enough to touch each other, and the entire board should have bottles sticking out of it (see the video above for reference).

Next, cut the top part of the caps off (but not so much that they can no longer screw on). The point is to make an opening about as large as the opening of the bottle. Screw the caps on to secure them to the board (this might work better doing them one by one instead of screwing on all the caps at once so you don’t mix up caps).

Finally, install the board with the body of the bottles on the outside of the house. The wind passing through the bottles will be compressed through the bottleneck (which heats the air slightly), and then as it expands into the home it will cool.

A demonstration of this effect can be done with your mouth. First, blow air out of your mouth with your mouth wide open (hold your hand in front of your mouth to feel the temperature). At the same rate, blow air out with your lips pursed.

In this scenario (as in the case with the Eco-Cooler), your mouth is acting as a throttle for the air passing through it. The increased velocity of the air makes it feel cooler on your skin as it passes by. It’s better if the board is installed on a side of the home that has more shade and better wind flow.

Currently, there is a lot of debate about the actual effects of this system. While it may not do the job of your expensive HVAC system, it certainly will feel better when it’s hot outside. The video claims a 5 degree Celsius difference in temperature, though this may be an exaggeration.

Part of why this works so well in India is because many of the homes are made from corrugated tin, which means that on summer days, the inside of the home is hotter than the outside (much like leaving your car in the sun). Circulating outside air through the home has a much more pronounced effect in these types of homes because the temperature difference is so drastic.

If your home is not made of corrugated tin (which it likely isn’t), you will probably not notice as great an effect with the Eco-Cooler. At the very least, however, the Eco-Cooler provides a no-cost fan for hot days that will amplify even a slight breeze because of the design. In disaster situations, this may be a great option for cooling the home, especially since the materials are easy to come by.

While air conditioning may seem like a luxury considering how much energy it uses, there are plenty of low-power options for disaster situations, or even for those who want to save a little money on air conditioning. With our options, the most power you’ll need is enough to freeze ice and a few batteries. Otherwise, there are plenty of tutorials for building air conditioning using solar power.

There’s no need to worry about extreme heat with these DIY options. You can use no power, batteries, or even the sun.

The post DIY Air Conditioners on the Cheap appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

The Best Handgun for Home Defense and Urban Environments

The handgun may well be one of mankind’s greatest inventions, at least in my opinion anyway.  There is a reason I say this. It is because for self defense man has risen from rocks and pointy sticks, to complex machinery made from steel, and other man-made materials.

Man made or gift from the heavens

Don’t be mistaken, steel is indeed man made. Steel does not exist naturally, only the iron from which the steel is created. There is an exception to this, meteorites. There have been iron meteorites that have enough other trace metals and carbon in them to be considered steel.

Bladed weapons were made in the past from meteorites and are still so today. I even saw a 1911 .45 pistol made from meteorite, the slide, frame, grips, and all moving parts. Only the barrel was made from modern steel (pictured below).

meteorite 45

In all its awesomeness

If the firearm itself wasn’t awesome enough, man then improved upon his achievement when he figured out how to shape other metals into casings, and projectiles. He figured out how to create a contained explosion, and then control this violence into a precision ballet that enables (some of us) to put a small piece of metal into a target hundreds of yards away, with consistent accuracy. Well, fairly consistently for some of us.

Then to top all of that off, this amazing creation is small enough to be held in one hand, it’s just incredible when you think about it. If a handgun were taken back into ancient times it would be worshipped as a magical talisman. This is because it is a mysterious object held in the hand, and with fire and a thunderous roar it holds the power of life and death.

Life and death

This is something that every firearm owner who carries for self defense should keep in mind. You hold the power of life and death in your hand. This should not be taken lightly. But, this can be a good thing if we are talking about saving OUR life.

To get to my rifle (or shotgun)

I have often heard the expression that your hand gun is merely a tool to help you get to your rifle or shotgun. In other words, since you can’t go around everywhere carrying a rifle or shotgun, your hand gun is there to help you get to the rifle or shotgun.

Well, technically you can carry a rifle or shotgun around with you, it would just be awkward. That’s why it is presumably in the trunk if you are out in the world in your vehicle.

I have been known to carry a rifle in my trunk or even just in the backseat on occasion, but now I rely more on my handgun to get me home to my rifles when I am out in the world. I keep a spare magazine or two with me as well as a backup gun 80% of the time. If you are at your home/homestead, then your rifle might be just in the other room and your handgun is on your side.

However, if you lived on a large plot of land then it would be reasonable to take the rifle along with you while you are out working or just enjoying your land. A handgun is an excellent choice for your daily carry defensive weapon, as it is not cumbersome like a rifle would be, and it is much more discrete.

But your rifle is vital for serious defensive situations; after all, soldiers don’t typically go into combat with just a handgun. One good example of this is 25 years ago during the LA riots. Korean shop owners were said to have gotten on the roofs of their stores armed with rifles and shotguns. When the rioting hoards came to their stores to loot, the store owners let go a quick burst from rifles, and shotguns from the roof tops. This sent the rioters fleeing in fear for their lives, thus keeping their stores and their families unharmed.

Here is a rather tranquil video from a news report in 1992 during the LA riots when the Korean store owners protected their property. They never were looted like the rest of the stores near them were.

Few, if any, were shot, but merely the sound and sight of a man armed with a powerful rifle kept them, their families, and their stores safe from the rioters and looters.  Some store owners are shown in video footage, on the ground in front of their stores firing at looters with semi automatic handguns. This shows the reality that being well armed can be vital in a situation like that.

Appropriate ammunition

One important detail that shouldn’t be overlooked is the type of ammunition that you fire from your defensive weapon. The idea of using as firearm in self defense is that you or your loved ones lives are in danger. Because of this danger, you must use your firearm in defense of you or your loved ones lives. To do this effectively you want to use an expanding projectile, AKA, a hollow point.

This video shows extreme slow motion projectiles “splashing” against a steel plate and penetrating the same steel plate.

Hollow point projectile

This is because a hollow point projectile expands when it enters the “target” and so becomes larger. As it expands it often also creates “blades” from the metal jacket which cut a hole through the “target”.

This allows for a rapid loss of blood, resulting in a rapid loss of blood pressure, which in turn results in hypoxia. (Hypoxia is oxygen deprivation of the cells) Hypoxia in turn, results in death, thus saving you and your loved ones. But what if you missed the “target”? What then? That projectile is going somewhere.

Often even when the “target” is struck squarely center mass the projectile will pass through and continue on its trajectory. This could cause harm to innocent bystanders if you are out in the world, or to your loved ones in your home.

Frangible projectile

For this reason, rather than using expanding projectiles, you should use frangible projectiles. Frangible is derived from the Latin word, “frangere”, which means “to break”.  This is because frangible projectiles are designed to do just that, break up upon impact with hard surfaces. This prevents ricochets from harming innocent bystanders.

Here is a video of a frangible handgun cartridge called a magsafe. I have some in .38 spcl caliber and my tests showed them to be devastating to the test meat. They do not over penetrate and basically disintegrate if they hit a hard surface like brick, yet will pass through glass and a car door to reach a target.

Magsafe ammunition is made with a copper jacket filled with small lead shot and held together with epoxy, as you can see in the picture on the left.

This design is what lets this type of ammunition perform the way it does. You can’t get this type of performance from an FMJ projectile.

mag safe

Watch this video where a ricochet from a .50 BMG rifle fired at a steel plate that was way too close to the shooter comes back and almost takes off the shooters head.

A ricochet is when a projectile strikes a hard surface then bounces off in a direction different from its original trajectory. Considering the distances modern projectiles can travel, a ricochet has the potential to travel hundreds of yards and harm someone in an urban environment.

See how frangible ammunition reacts in gel and upon striking a hard surface in this short video here:

So, by using frangible ammunition in an environment that is high risk for friendly fire related injuries caused by pass through and/or ricochets, you minimize the risks.

Using shotguns for home defense and urban environments

Another method of home and self defense is using shotguns. In your home and around your homestead if you have acreage, by using a shotgun for defense you can also help to minimize risk of injury and/or death to innocents.

Of course this is negated if you choose to use slugs or heavy buckshot in the home because these types of ammunition can still have pass through and ricochet risks. You can solve this problem, again, by using frangible projectiles.

Here is a video demonstrating the use of frangible shotgun slugs.

Many people that have less experience do not realize that in short distances of only 20-30 feet or so, a birdshot round fired from a shotgun acts as a frangible slug. At these short distances the shot cup doesn’t have a chance to open and disperse the shot yet and so carries the shot to the target en mass.

The impact of this mass of shot at these close ranges is quite devastating. I had to prove this to someone one day when we were out back in my yard shooting. I set up three sheets of 3/4” plywood and from about 20 feet or so away I fired a 12 gauge shot shell with number 7 or 8 birds shot, common “playing in the yard with a shotgun” ammo at our house.

The 2” hole blasted through the boards convinced him that, yes this does act as a frangible slug at short distances. Of course once you double that range the effect quickly begins to diminish so this method is intended solely for use inside the house.

Here is a video that demonstrates that.

If you intend to use a shotgun around your home outside, then I would opt for buckshot and/or slugs, depending on how well you shoot. If you aren’t so great of a shot then buckshot is the way to go. If you expect to be shooting at running targets or in the dark, again, buckshot is the way to go.

Shotgun in a hand gun

If you want to use the shotgun idea in an urban environment to minimize risk of injuring an innocent with friendly fire then I would suggest using a Taurus Judge or a Smith & Wesson Governor. These are .410 bore revolvers and can fire birdshot, buckshot, and slugs as well as .45 Long Colt ammunition. You can put a combination of these rounds in the gun and have a blast with it. (Pun intended)

judge with ammo

Final thoughts

What it comes down to, as usual, is to use your head. Think about the scenario that is most likely to occur and think about what equipment will best control the situation. Carrying a handgun for EDC is the best idea because it is the most suitable for that situation.

Having a rifle or shotgun in the trunk and/or at home is a good idea because you can go from the handgun to the rifle/shotgun if the situation calls for that. The ammunition you will use for these different situations should be considered and determine what is best.

If you carry a handgun in an urban environment it is probably best that you use frangible ammunition to minimize the risk of hurting innocent bystanders from pass through and/or ricochets. Likewise, if you have other people in your home frangible ammunition is likely to be the best course of action there as well, especially if you are using a shotgun or rifle in the home.

Just use your head. I would say use common sense, but it seems that common sense isn’t really that common. So THINK about your situation, assess the situation, and determine the best course of action to resolve the issue. If your knowledge limits your decision making then do your research and learn what you need to know to make the best decision. Your, and your loved ones lives, and stranger’s lives too, can depend on what course of action you take.

The post The Best Handgun for Home Defense and Urban Environments appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

Garden Uses for Vinegar

Gardening is a difficult enough skill to pick up without having to worry about all the problems that come with it, like dealing with weeds, pests, animals, and more. Luckily, there’s an easy way to deal with these issues, and it’s available at your local supermarket or gardening store.

Vinegar is becoming an increasingly popular solution to dealing with common garden problems, from weeds to slugs and snails, to ants, to rabbits eating your plants. It’s easy to use, as it usually just needs to be mixed with water or sugar or even soap in different parts to use it effectively (depending on the problem you’re having).

While you can go out and buy specific products for all of your gardening needs, vinegar is a great one-stop solution for many different problems. On top of that, for preppers, vinegar is a great option for dealing with these problems because it’s so easily accessible. If you’re in a disaster situation and have to tend to your garden to feed yourself and your family, vinegar is an excellent way to solve common problems.

About Vinegar

Vinegar is produced by fermenting ethanol with acetic acid bacteria to transform it into a liquid that can be anywhere between 5 and 20% acetic acid. Most of the people use vinegar in cooking or pickling, but because it’s such an easy produced and mild acid, it has also been used for cleaning and many medical purposes. In fact, among DIYers and survivalists today, it is still popularly used for these reasons.

There are many different kinds of vinegar, as you may have seen while searching for the correct vinegar to buy when cooking. There’s everything from apple cider vinegar to balsamic vinegar to red wine vinegar. For DIY or survivalist purposes, you will be using distilled white vinegar, and very occasionally apple cider vinegar.

Different types of vinegar have different ingredients and processing methods. Fermenting distilled alcohol (most commonly made from malt or corn) and then diluting it with water produces distilled white vinegar. The final vinegar is typically between 5 and 8% acetic acid in water with a pH of 2.6.

Distilled white vinegar is the one that is usually used for cleaning and gardening.

Storing Vinegar

Before we get into using vinegar in the garden, let’s go over how to store it so that you can stockpile it for emergency situations. Since it’s so useful for tending a garden and for cleaning, it’s a great option for storing for when SHTF.

Luckily, because vinegar is so acidic, it is easy to store indefinitely without worrying that it will go bad. That’s why it’s so often used for pickling and preserving foods. Some flavored kinds of vinegar, because of the ingredients added, may lose some of their flavors over time, but this period is between five and ten years (and even then, it’s still perfectly safe to consume).

When any vinegar is stored for a long period, you may notice that it becomes cloudy or develops sediment. It is okay and does not mean that the vinegar is unsafe for consumption; however, you may notice altered flavor at this point.

Vinegar is one of the easiest products to store. In fact, the best way to stockpile vinegar is to simply store it in its original, sealed container in a cool, dark area. Like any other chemicals or similar substances, you should strive to store it in an area that does not see many temperature fluctuations.

But at the end of the day, all you really need to do is buy as many jugs of distilled white vinegar as you think you’ll need in a survival situation and store it in your basement somewhere dry.

Using Vinegar for Weeds and Fungus

The number one thing you should keep in mind when you’re using vinegar to kill weeds in the garden is that it will typically only kill the green, leafy part above the surface. The root systems, however, will remain unaffected, which simply means that after killing the surface of the weeds, you’ll still need to hand pick the roots out.

The exception to this is if you use vinegar to kill a weed repeatedly in a short period. Over time, the weed will not have enough reserve food to regrow, and will eventually die. Although, if you are looking for a quicker solution, it may be better to use vinegar to destroy the leaves then going in later to finish the job.

Another method to getting the roots is to soak the soil with your vinegar solution; however, this could affect the root systems of the plants that you want to keep. One thing to remember when using vinegar to kill weeds is that vinegar does not discriminate. It will kill surrounding grass and other plants if you are not careful with its application.

The best way to use vinegar to kill weeds is to use a spray bottle from short range and avoid misting any other plants. On the plus side, vinegar is great for destroying weeds that spring up from the cracks of your sidewalk, on the sides of your house, and more. This is because it doesn’t require you to dig in and fully remove the weed yourself, and there is no need to be as careful when spraying it in these areas.

Here’s a quick recipe on how to make an effective weed killer using regular 5% acetic acid white distilled vinegar:

  • 1-gallon vinegar
  • 1-cup salt (to prevent the weed from growing again)
  • 1-tablespoon soap (to make the mixture adhere better to the weeds)

Stir this mixture together thoroughly in a bucket, and then fill a spray bottle to start weeding. Keep in mind with this particular formulation that too much salt sprayed in one area could cause nothing to be able to grow in that soil again. Be judicious in your use of the weed killer, as it could have unintended side effects on the plants you want to keep.

When using the solution, make sure the whole plant is coated and do it on a sunny day so that the mixture and plant can dry out. With this solution, it should only take a few days for your weeds to die.

Vinegar can also be used as a fungicide for black spots or mildew on your plants. However, unlike the weed-killing recipe for vinegar, recipes for fungicides use much less vinegar because it can harm the plant. You want to kill the fungus – not your roses!

For this, you’ll want a sprayer that can spray accurately in small areas to do the least amount of damage to your plants. Some quick recipes for fungicides:

Recipe 1 (most plants)

  • One gallon of compost tea or green tea
  • 2 tablespoons of 5% acetic acid white vinegar

Recipe 2 (best for roses or mildew)

  • One gallon of water
  • 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

Recipe 3

  • One gallon of water
  • One tablespoon of baking soda
  • One tablespoon of horticultural oil
  • One tablespoon of 5% acetic acid white vinegar

As you can see, there are some recipes out there for creating great herbicides and fungicides. If you are very careful with your proportions, you shouldn’t have any trouble dealing with pesky annual weeds or the occasional mildew. Just remember to spray accurately!

Using Vinegar for Pests and to Deter Small Animals

On top of being great for an herbicide or fungicide, vinegar also has many uses in keeping out common pests and animals. Again, most remedies online call only for 5% acetic acid white vinegar, and especially when dealing with small animals, you definitely want to stick to this type.

Here’s a list of pests and animals that vinegar can help with:

  • Slugs and snails – You don’t need these pests eating your vegetables and flowers. Spray them directly with vinegar, and they will die pretty quickly.
  • Ants – Spray on thresholds to effectively repel ants from any areas you want to be bug-free. You’ll need to reapply fairly frequently for this to work. You can also spray inside the hill itself to do more damage.
  • Fruit flies – Mix half a cup of apple cider vinegar with a tablespoon of molasses, a 1/4-cup of sugar, and 1-cup of water. Then add about one inch of the solution to the bottom of a can, water bottle, or another vessel, and place near the area where you have a problem with fruit flies. Replace and clean when needed.
  • Cats, rabbits, raccoons, moles, rodents, and many other small animals – Most people will soak something in vinegar for about an hour, such as a corn cob or cotton balls, and then leave these items around the garden area to keep these animals away. You can replace them every couple of weeks. For cats, you can also just spray full-strength vinegar around the areas you don’t want them in.

Using Vinegar for Cleaning and Sanitizing

The other big use for vinegar is cleaning and sanitizing tools and pots. Again, because it is such an easily made mild acid, vinegar has been used for a long time in cleaning and even in medicine. Its usefulness in these areas remains today.

First and foremost, you can soak your garden tools in a solution that half water and half vinegar to clean and sanitize them for use again. When doing this, you only need to soak the tools for half an hour to an hour before rinsing and then drying them. The vinegar will prevent fungus and other harmful bacteria from contaminating your tools.

If your tools are rusty, you can soak them in full strength vinegar (5% acetic acid white vinegar) overnight to get rid of the rust. The vinegar will dissolve the rust over a period of hours, and once it’s done, you can scrub it off easily. Your tools will look good as new.

Another item in your garden that vinegar can refresh is a clay pot. If your garden has many clay pots that are starting to look old (no longer the lovely red-brown color they started with), you can use a solution that is one part vinegar to three parts water to soak them for about half an hour before scrubbing them. Once you’ve scrubbed them, they’ll look brand new.

Similarly, you can use vinegar to clear up mineral deposits on the saucers beneath potted plants, on birdbaths, on plastic containers, or on just about anything. So long as you soak the area (either by spraying it down well or by actually leaving it in the vinegar), the acid will break down these deposits, enabling you to scrub it properly whatever it is that needs cleaning. It will depend on what it is; you may need to use full or half strength vinegar.

Safety Precautions

Vinegar that is above 10% acetic acid is corrosive to the skin and should be handled carefully. The vinegar you buy at the grocery store is usually below 10% acetic acid, but you can get solutions up to 30% by purchasing vinegar from your local gardening store or online.

Of course, if you buy a vinegar solution that’s above 10% acetic acid, you’ll want to use some protection for your eyes and hands when you are using it. Pickling vinegar is a good compromise if you don’t want to deal with the harsher chemical, as it’s about 7% acetic acid. Most of the applications discussed, however, only call for 5% acetic acid vinegar.

If you happen to get vinegar with an acetic acid content above 10% on your hands, then you should just rinse your hands (or any other affected body parts). You want to do so for at least 10 minutes to ensure that all of the acid is gone. If it’s a large spill, immediately remove any clothing you are wearing and shower to rinse it off as quickly as possible.

If vinegar with high acetic acid content gets into your eyes, first immediately remove any contacts, then flush your eyes with water for at least 15 minutes. After this, you should seek medical attention.

Some Final Notes

Many people also use vinegar for refreshing plants like rhododendrons and azaleas because these plants prefer a little acidity. By occasionally watering these types of plants with a vinegar solution (a cup of vinegar to a gallon of water), you can help them perk up and look their best. Vinegar can also help preserve cut flowers when added to a vase (one to two tablespoons with a tablespoon of sugar).

No matter what your gardening need is, vinegar is an excellent and easy solution. Especially for those who are interested in preserving their garden in case disaster strikes, vinegar is a perfect acid for dealing with these everyday problems. It is easily stored for when SHTF, and only needs to be mixed with other common household ingredients.

In short, vinegar is one of the most versatile products that you can have in your home or retreat. If you’re someone that prefers to do things in a more natural way (or a more sustainable way for survival situations), then you should consider using vinegar for more of your household and gardening needs.

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Improvised Arms and Ammunition Part 5: Zip Guns

The Liberator

In WWII the United States created a cheaply made, single shot, .45 ACP hand gun called the Liberator. At a cost of about $2 per gun, one million of them were manufactured by the head light division of General Motors in just under three months.

The guns were quickly and cheaply made, the barrels weren’t even rifled. They came with 10 rounds of .45 ACP cartridges, and a wooden dowel rod that came with it was the “ejector”.

The grip was made to stow a few extra rounds. They were intended to be picked up by resistance fighters, and used to kill an occupying enemy soldier and relieve him of his gear and weapons. They were intended to be used at very close range, up to about five yards. The users best bet would have been to put it right against their targets head or chest.

Of the one million made, only a few thousand were actually ever dropped. No one knows how many were ever actually used, although there is an historical picture of a French resistance fighter with one stuck in the front of his pants.

Zip gun

The idea behind the Liberator was based in its name. It was intended to liberate an occupied people. In essence the Liberator was nothing more than a zip gun. A zip gun is a cheaply, quickly made gun, usually a single use. Often the zip gun was as dangerous for the shooter as it was for anyone the shooter may be pointing it at. Making a zip gun should be reserved for instances of SHTF and TEOTWAWKI.

zip gun

Most often the zip gun is made in a smaller caliber like .22 LR. This is because cheap, readily available materials, like fuel lines and brake lines, are used as the barrel. Conveniently, fuel lines and brake lines are about the right diameter for that caliber too.

Bigger isn’t always better

In a previous article, I wrote about making a single shot shotgun I call a slider shotgun. Those actually originated in the Philippines during WWII when the citizens tried to fight off invading Japanese armies. The Filipinos called it a paliuntod, now there are videos all over YouTube and they are called all different names. In that article I also mentioned having made a 20 gauge, single shot, zip gun shotgun when I was a kid.

That size of a zip gun isn’t as practical for stealth as the pistol sized because most often a zip gun was made by a “bad guy” to do bad things with. Because of that they needed a smaller, more easily concealed gun. Small caliber cartridges for a zip gun are just advisable for your own safety as well. The idea behind making a zip gun here is to defend yourself and your loved ones in cases of SHTF and TEOTWAWKI.

Pistol cartridges like a 9mm have very high chamber pressures and so trying to use that in a zip gun would likely cause you to lose some fingers, if not your whole hand. If I were going to make a zip gun for myself I would say that a .32 ACP would be about the largest caliber I would use. Maybe a .380, but I’d have to make sure I had some thick, tough steel for the barrel.

The .32 ACP doesn’t have a very high chamber pressure and with a quality hollow point projectile it can expand to a diameter on the order of about 0.4 – 0.45 inches. That’s a pretty good sized hole. Most often people will use the .22 LR to make a zip gun. If for no other reason, it is because of that readily available tubing diameter factor.

How to make a zip gun for SHTF or TEOTWAWKI

Before we discuss making a zip gun I would like to point out that, in my state it is legal for me to make firearms for MY PERSONAL USE. I can’t sell it, or cross state lines with it, and handguns MUST have a rifled barrel. All federal law must be observed. Most zip guns do not have rifled barrels. To make a legal handgun is one thing, but making a zip gun is reserved for SHTF and TEOTWAWKI.

Here is a video of an actual gun maker that designed a “hardware store gun” for people to make in case of SHTF and TEOTWAWKI.

But you don’t have to be a gun maker to make a homemade gun as you can see here:

Onward

If you find a short length of tubing that is strong enough to withstand the pressure you are half way there. Brake line tubing is often used because it has an acceptable inside diameter, and it is a hydraulic pressure line, so it can withstand the pressure of a .22 cartridge.

The simplest form of zip gun is a barrel mounted onto a grip with a strip of springy metal screwed to the back of the grip. The springy metal strip is drilled, and a screw is positioned so that it hits the rim of the .22 cartridge. File the screw point flat so it hits solid on the rim of the cartridge.

Parts list for a simple .22 LR zip gun:

  • Grip
  • Metal tube for barrel (usually an automobile brake line will suffice)
  • Metal strip (springy if possible)
  • Rubber bands (if metal strip is not springy)
  • Three screws

If you decided to make a larger caliber, then position the screw to hit the primer of a center fire cartridge. You still need to file the point off of the screw. If you don’t have springy metal, then just use a strip of any thin metal and simply wrap some rubber bands around the grip and metal strip so that the strip acts as a spring.

Keep in mind that if you can’t get .22 LR ammo you can always go to the hardware store and buy .22 caliber blank cartridges for nail guns, then go to Waldens world o’ Chinese made stuff and buy a box of .22 caliber pellets. Load a pellet, put the blank behind it, pull the trigger and it goes bang.

And actually, that method is a little more powerful than a standard .22 LR if you use the hotter blanks, believe it or not. You can buy various power blanks so if you get the most powerful blank it will send that pellet fast, but even the weaker ones will still take small game like squirrels and rabbits.

This video really gives you good information on the velocities you get firing pellets with blanks:

Better than a zip

If you want to make a hand gun that is a little better than just a zip gun there are a few ways to go about it. You can build it from scratch and take a lot of time and make a real, actual gun if you have the skills and tools. But most of us don’t have either of those to do that.

This guy did a pretty good job of making a real hand gun:

But you can get closer to a real gun by using an actual trigger and hammer or striker to fire the round, rather than just using a strip of metal and rubber bands. It just depends on how much time you have and what you want to do with it.

You can take a .22 caliber pellet rifle and convert it to fire live .22 LR ammo fairly easily. In the United States that would be legal to do, in your country if you aren’t supposed to have guns then you shouldn’t do that. I read that in some countries you have to have a special license even to own a pellet rifle!

Last shot

What it comes down to is that if you are living under the laws of your state or country, you have to follow those laws. But if a time comes when there are no longer governments and laws then you must do what you have to do to protect your family from bad people and to hunt to provide food. This may entail building a homemade gun.

Of all the options there are, if you need a firearm for protection or hunting quickly, then making a zip gun might be the answer. It will give you the immediate means of protection and allow you more time to make something better, or to use it to obtain better equipment, including genuine firearms.

I am not advocating breaking any laws, but I do feel strongly about protecting myself and my loved ones, especially if a time of lawlessness were to arise. Firearms are such an essential part of life here in the United States that our constitution guarantees us the right to keep and bear arms.

Most Americans already own at least one, if not several firearms so we don’t have to worry too much about having to make one for protection.  But it’s always good to know how, just in case.

The post Improvised Arms and Ammunition Part 5: Zip Guns appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

The Ojibwa Bird Snare

Traps to capture birds can come in as many forms and designs as types of techniques, but they all have the same origin source in that they were constructed to capture food.  Trapping fowl of any type was as a whole, not regulated or tracked in any way.

When populations were depleted or the species started showing strains from being trapped, such as when songbirds where in fashion at court for their voices or native species were hunted only for their plumage, regulations and laws were put into place to protect the birds.

Bird haven

In the middle 1700’s, in the region of Ontario Canada, the native people were hit hard with diseases like TB (Tuberculosis) and Small Pox. The remaining people fled to more populated areas, leaving the land unpopulated and unhunted for about 75 years.

It just happens the opposite was occurring in the bird community, and a certain species had a big boom in growth. In this region of Canada, it was berry rich and predator sparse with a lack of competition for food, so a sweet haven that was perfect for birds to flourish.

Rise of the passenger pigeon

This bird was the passenger pigeon and some of its relatives like doves, and the population rivaled those of the buffalo on the plains of the west. Just one flock could swell to numbers of 2 billion birds. Due to this high number of birds, native peoples begin to move back to the prey rich lands. This abundance in food with forests untouched by people served the native population quite well and several tribes of the Anishnaube moved into the area, with the strongest being the Ojibway.

In the Columbidae bird family there are about 42 breeds and 310 varieties. The stout bodied bird that has a short neck and slim bill many people think that dove and pigeon can be used for both. But dove is from the French for “peeping” and pigeon from the Germanic name for diving. The larger types of this family are called pigeons, and the smaller ones are doves. But in common terms, the rock dove is what most people refer to as a pigeon and its subspecies are domesticated and the feral ones in the cities. The passenger pigeon, at one time was thought to be one of the most numerous species on earth. One colony recorded in 1871 by ornithologist A. Wilson was reported to have over 100 million breeding birds.

Evolution of bird trapping

The type of bird and its habits help explain how the trap evolved to be most efficient at providing catch as a food source.  In the thick Canadian forests not all traps are successful. Traps like the deadfall, spear based traps, or the scissors derivatives do not seems to be that effective for the environment.

The pole was meant for birds to serve as a perch. With birds such as grouse or grosbeaks they are more ground birds that fly straight up into the protective trees if startled to hide. As the passenger pigeons are perching birds, the Ojibwa bird pole snare was developed.

The Ojibwa bird pole snare

Although a primitive trap, it has a design that is quite sophisticated in its elegance.

The basic set up consists of 4 main elements:

materials

The pole

The main piece is a tall pointed pole, about 4 feet in height that you drill a hole in.  The hole is bored so there are no snagging pieces inside.  You can use flint like the native people, or a hacksaw. A cord or rope must go through smoothly and without any resistance. The method a lot of bush craft people use is contributed to Kochanski and it is cutting a hole with a long Bowie or hunting knife. This method makes more of a conical bore on each side so the cord has a range of motion, you can drill the hole of course. Either method would be functional as long as the walls of the hole are smooth inside. You can use your knife to carve a point at the pole’s top. This will discourage birds from landing atop it, and aim them more towards the trigger stick for a seemingly better perching place.

The triggering stick

The next piece is a stick that is long enough and thick enough to let a bird perch on it. Think of the dowel rods used in bird cages to gauge the width. This triggering stick will fit into the hole as a plug, keeping the snare open by preventing it from sliding shut until it is activated by a bird’s weight on it. When the bird lands and pressure is presented on the triggering stick, it will cause it to be released. This will allow it to close the snare and shut it.

The snare

Through the ages many materials have been used from leather strips, natural twines, to wire. I don’t like wire as its too rigid for this type of snare trap and can get misshaped quite easily. After a few uses, it may not slide closed properly, allowing for your catch to escape, or can bend a few times then just snap right in two. So the consensus is using cord is the best all around. I like the inner strands from paracord as they have a great tensile strength, will not rot or mildew like other natural cords, and slide pretty well allowing for the snare to shut. If you have no paracord, then most cords will do for a while.

The weight

For this type of snare to work, the activation of the trigger will need to be countered with a weighting mechanism. There are 2 types of mechanisms that will work. A bent sapling to snap the snare closed when activated, or a rock for weight to pull the snare closed with gravity. The rock method is the one employed by the Ojibwa as it can’t break or be affected by weather like a sapling. So during the long and harsh winter months, the rock won’t fail making it the best choice.

This is the finished Ojibwa bird pole snare:

Ojibwa bird pole snare

Here is a closer view of the trigger and the way it fits into the pole with the snare set.

cord

This is the properly sharpened tip of the pole, to insure the pigeon or any bird to choose the trigger branch as a landing spot for a safer grip.

spear tip

One variation on the Ojibwa bird pole snare is to add a toggle clip to keep the bird off raised quite a way off the ground and some say its smoother and safer for the prey, but it is not needed. The Ojibwa people used the Ojibwa bird pole snare for many centuries and it is still a reliable trap to this day, so either way is fine.

toggle

Using a toggle does insure the birds legs don’t break when the snare is closed, so it is a more humane method. It also may mean the bird, depending on its type, may escape if a particularly strong breed.

Setting the trap

It is a fairly simple set up. It would be better to practice a few times to make sure your snare line feeds smoothly and the trigger fits snug enough to not fall too soon, but loose enough to be triggered when needed.

A note: To stop the rock for pulling the snare by gravity alone, I have seen people put a knot in the snare close to the rock. This is not advised as it may prevent the snare cord from sliding correctly and let your bird loose. If the trigger stick is snug enough, you will not need any knots or special ties to keep it from shutting before being triggered by the bird’s weight.

This is what the trap looks like when it is set properly:

proper set

As the bird lands here (marked with red), the weight will offset the balance of the stick that has been placed in the pole’s burrowed hole, dislodging it, and letting the rock pull the snare shut as seen below.

activate

caught

One way to entice birds to land and perch is to scatter grains and berries around the stand, or place a leaf with seed in the snare hole. As they come in for landing they will perch first to survey the land for competition, or predator hiding spots. Have your trap close enough to trees that the birds will fly down onto your perch, but not too close to the local foliage that they just go straight to the seed or bait that you have placed to lure them in.

As stated before pigeons and other migratory birds that perch will be a good prey for this type of snare. This trap was made to harvest the larger passenger pigeon, so it can catch a good sized bird. Rock doves and grouse can also be caught with this type and a few more birds quite effectively.

Final thoughts

As laws and seasons can differ in many states, you will want to check with your local Wildlife and hunting Bureau for the legality side. For a post collapse situation, using a trap such as the Ojibwa snare can mean life or death in the rough terrain of places like Canada and Alaska.

The post The Ojibwa Bird Snare appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

31 Summer Plants for Preppers

As a prepper, planning a garden is so much more effort than just choosing pretty flowers or picking out neat vegetable varieties. You want to choose plants that offer a lot of benefits for the amount of space they take up. The following plants are great summer plants for preppers because they offer large harvests, medicinal benefits, and/or a use in a permaculture garden.

tomatoes

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a huge part of the modern diet. Whether it’s in salads, spaghetti sauce, ketchup, or salsa chances are your family eats them. They’re a great plant for beginners and easy to preserve. For growers in exceptionally cold climates consider cherry tomato varieties which tolerate pots well and can be brought indoors whenever temperatures dip too low.

chive

Chives

Chives are frequently used in permaculture gardens for their ability to deter pests. You may consider planting them throughout your food forest. They’re also a hardy perennial and offer loads of flavor to meals all summer long. They’re also quite beautiful which makes them a great option for urban preppers.

comfrey

Comfrey

Also called knit bone comfrey is an excellent plant for herbal medicine and permaculture. In a permaculture sense this hardy perennial has a deep tap root that can “mine” nutrients from deep in the soil and bring them up for other plants to access.It can also be cut and used as a mulch. Medicinally comfrey was traditionally used to create poultices to help heal wounds and mend broken bones.

radishes

Radishes

Radishes can handle midsummer heat and cool temperatures. Some varieties are ready to be harvested in just 21 days because of this they can be extremely useful for sticking in between slower growing plants to make the most of your garden space.

marigold

Marigolds

They’re great to plant throughout the garden because they deter many common garden pests.

sun flower

Jerusalem Artichokes

A relative of sunflowers Jerusalem Artichokes or sun chokes are so easy to grow they can be hard to contain. They’re grown for their edible root which has a starchy, potato like consistency. The roots can also be dried and ground into a gluten free flour.

swiss chard

Swiss Chard

Chard is one of the hardiest of greens. It can be planted early tolerating cold weather and will produce all through summer even in hot temperatures unlike many other greens that have the tendency to bolt.

corn

Flint/Dent/Flour Corn

In a true emergency survival situation these corn varieties can be an easy to grow staple food. They do excellently when planted in a three sisters’ garden in combination with winter squash and dry beans.

beans

Dry Beans

Dry beans are great for preppers because they’re so easy to grow and store. They can be planted in combination with corn (or another tall plant) and vining squash to form a Three Sisters Garden. If planted this way they provide the corn with nitrogen and use it as a living trellis. To plant in a Three Sisters Garden be sure to look for pole varieties.

zucchini

Summer Squash/Zucchini

Both summer squash and zucchini tend to be speedy growers and offer continual abundant harvests. They produce so well that people have come up with many unique ways to use and preserve them. You may want to have some recipes planned ahead of time.

sunflower

Sunflowers

They’re so much more than just pretty flowers. Sunflowers were cultivated by different Native American groups for their seeds. Some were bred to have a lot of large seeds for eating while others to be pressed for oil. They can also be planted as trellises for plants like pole beans or to attract pollinators.

bergamot

Bergamot

This gorgeous little flower is perfect for a permaculture garden because pollinators absolutely love it! Some Native Americans even included it in their Three Sisters garden to help ensure all the corn, beans, and squash were pollinated. It also makes a delicious tea.

plant

Peppers

While they’re not ideal for preppers living far north they can be great crops for anyone farther south. There’s so many varieties and if you have a dehydrator they’re easy to dry for winter and add to soups, stews, and chilies.

eggplant

Eggplants

Eggplants are another crop that’s better suited to the south but if you do live in the south eggplants may be perfect. They love the heat!

broccoli

Brassicas (far northern growers)

If you do live in a cold, northern climate you may include some brassicas in your summer crops. These cool weather loving vegetables include cauliflower, kale, broccoli, and cabbage. For anyone with hot summers these fair much better as early spring or fall crops.

stinging nettle

Stinging Nettle

Stinging Nettle is perfect for a food forest because it tolerates quite a bit of shade. You’ll need gloves to harvest but it’s absolutely worth it. The stingers dissolve once the nettles are dried, baked, pureed, or boiled (very briefly) and it’s an amazing source of protein and vitamins.

quinoa

Amaranth & Quinoa

Amaranth and quinoa are two amazing ancient grains. They’re related but amaranth favors a warm climate while quinoa does better in cool weather. They’re hardy, very productive, and full of protein.

strawberries

Strawberries

Who doesn’t love homegrown strawberries? Thankfully there even more useful than you would think. They make an excellent ground cover in food forests and are hardy perennials with varieties that will grow in many different zones. The leaves can also be used to make a tea that’s full of vitamins and has many healing properties.

soy

Soy Beans

These guys have gotten this image of being a crop only for industrial farms but they’re actually really great for small gardens too. They have good yields and are nitrogen fixing legumes so they can be interplanted to give other plants a boost. You can eat them green or dry them and roast them for snacks or make tofu or tempeh.

purslane

Purslane

While it’s often considered a weed purslane may have been intentionally cultivated by Native Americans. It’s low, vining structure is great for growing beneath other plants and it offers tons of nutritional benefits. You might just let it go if it’s already present in your garden, collect seed from a wild variety, or purchase seed from a cultivated variety for larger leaves.

the scenery

Peanuts

Not actually a nut, peanuts are another protein packed, nitrogen fixing legume. For anyone with a long, hot summer peanuts are totally worth it. Having them on hand to make peanut butter can keep spirits high in a survival situation. Plus they can be pressed for oil.

buckwheat

Buckwheat

Buckwheat is probably one of the fastest growing grains and is super protein dense and filling. It’s great for permaculture gardens because it attracts pollinators and beneficial insects plus after harvesting the grain the leftover plant material makes an excellent mulch.

mint

Mint

Once you plant mint you’ll never lack for it. If not contained this tough perennial can take over a garden or field. You can use it in livestock buildings or the home to help deter pests. It also makes a tasty tea that’s soothing for upset stomachs.

potato plant

Potatoes

Especially for preppers in cool climates potatoes can be one diet staple. Check out the many varieties available and pick a combination to grow to gain their different benefits and pest/disease resistance.

sweet potato

Sweet Potatoes

For people with long hot summers sweet potatoes should definitely be on your garden list. They are heavy producers, full of nutrients, and easy to store long term.

red clover

Red Clover

This clover makes a great ground cover for a food forest. As it grows it fixes nitrogen for other plants to use. Plus it’s edible and has been used medicinally for centuries.

beet

Beets

These can be an excellent dual purpose crop. Harvest a few leaves early in the year and then harvest the roots later. They can be stored for long periods when kept in layers of sand in a cool place like a root cellar. If your climate is warm enough you can mulch them heavily and pull them as needed.

carrot

Carrots

Carrots are easy to grow and full of important vitamins. Plus they take up very little space and can be stored just like beets for winter use.

cucumber

Cucumbers

Cucumbers may not seems like a super important crop but they’re well-liked by most families and easy to grow and put up as pickles. They’re also an excellent companion plant for taller crops and can help shade the soil and block out weeds. If you’re trying to grow a cool weather loving crop like lettuce in the middle of summer cucumbers can be grown on a slanted trellis with the lettuce underneath to offer it some shade.

turnips

Turnips

Like beets turnips offer both edible greens and roots. They’re also easy to grow and can be stored just like beets.

Lambs quarter

Lambs-quarter

It may get a bad rap as a nuisance weed but lambs-quarter is actually a nutritious edible. Its roots, leaves, and seeds can all be eaten and because it’s a weed you should have no trouble growing it!

green (snap) beans

Snap Beans

Snap beans don’t mind the heat of summer but still do well farther north. You can find bush or pole varieties to suit your garden’s layout and they are nitrogen fixing. They’re also extremely easy to save seed from for following years.

While for many gardening is merely a hobby it’s extremely important to preppers. One of the best ways to be ready for disaster is to have a secure food source. Growing these easy, productive, and useful crops can save you money this summer and help keep you alive in a SHTF event.

What’s your most important crop?

The post 31 Summer Plants for Preppers appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

Coffee, Green Tea or Dandelion Tea?

If you prefer coffee over tea fear not, coffee contains antioxidants as well, quinines, chlorogenic acid, and trigonelline, and is purported to help lower the risk of type II diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, liver cancer, colon cancer, and gout.

Be sure to keep in mind that coffee has about 85mg of caffeine per cup compared to about 40mg per cup for tea, so if you would like to benefit from the antioxidant properties but don’t want the stimulant side effect then tea it is.

Recent research has linked the consumption of caffeine with an increased risk of miscarriage, so moderation is key. We will go over some of the benefits of coffee and tea, and then take a look at alternatives that can be substituted in a post collapse situation or SHTF lack of resources.

Are coffee or tea fattening?

One important fact to keep in mind no matter which brew you prefer is that both coffee and tea are calorie free in their “natural” state. It takes adding sugar and creamers to add any calories. One way to do it would be to have your coffee in the morning when you need that pick-me-up to shake the cobwebs from your eyes and get your day started, and then drink tea throughout the day to keep the antioxidants flowing. Be sure to drink plenty of water too.

Which has more antioxidants: Coffee or Tea?

The evidence shows that both coffee and tea contain the antioxidants that may help decrease the risk of several forms of cancer and other disease, the only question is which do you prefer? Coffee is overwhelmingly the drink of choice for Americans, but tea is becoming more and more popular with an upwards of 10 billion servings consumed last year. Many countries around the world allocate the health benefits of a tea enriched diet. In China tea has been used to treat many ailments through the ages.

Are all coffee and teas the same?

One thing to keep in mind if you decide on tea is that many herbal teas do not actually contain tea. Some of these drinks do use tea as a base for the mix but many are made up purely of herbs that do not contain the antioxidant benefit that tea provides. The same can be said for instant coffee or heavily flavored novelty drinks, it may be mostly added elements that do not have the same health benefits as regular coffee. So, whether it’s coffee or tea that you prefer, drink up.

Can caffeine drinks help a workout or the workday?

For those that start each morning with a cup of coffee, you may be doing life more correctly than you thought. A dose of caffeine in the form of morning coffee each day can be a very useful to those who follow their coffee with a workout later in the day. A cup after a workout will help a person’s muscles relax post-workout too.

Boosting the work from your drink

An Australian institute conducted a study on the effects of caffeine ingested by runners at both the recreational and advanced levels. Each of the runners took an amount of caffeine equal to what would be in an 8oz coffee and each runner had an improvement in their run times of about 11 seconds per person. Coffee, and the caffeine within it, stimulates the glycogen of the body by giving the body a fatty acid to consume instead. This allows the muscles to focus only on consuming the energy rich glycogen, meaning those who are drinking coffee can have a longer workout.

Won’t coffee dehydrate you?

Many people who believe they are in the know about coffee think it dehydrates the drinker due to the caffeine in it. The ideal that caffeine dehydrates is not an uncommon one, and it came around from the majority of people being warned not to drink caffeinated drinks on summer days or face dehydration. This is simply a myth, and has been proven wrong through extensive testing.

In fact the opposite is true in some situations as a caffeinated beverage such as coffee can provide much needed fluids to those who are accustomed to them. Essentially for those who have come to rely on a strong cup of coffee as motivation, the body has adapted and relies on it as an intake of fluid.

How does it help?

Coffee will help the body by acting as a stimulant to the nervous system, with caffeine directly blocking the production of a hormone that causes the body to relax. Blocking this hormone puts the body in the famed ‘fight or flight’ stage, releasing a dose of adrenaline into the system. The rate of the heart increases, pupils dilate, muscles will tighten, and the body goes into over production releasing glucose into the blood for that extra kick of energy.

Caffeine taken into the body will also increase the amount of dopamine in the mind. Dopamine is the hormone that crates a euphoric sense of feeling, which leads to a person working out feeling better both about their exercise and themselves.

Thus drinking coffee physiologically creates a sense of happiness during a workout, making the drinker feel more alert with more energy to spend. So have another cup before your workout.

What are some alternative drinks that have the same effect as coffee and tea?

There are quite a few alternatives you can brew at home that can have the same effect as coffee or tea. This can be extremely beneficial if TEOTWAWKI happens and supplies are limited, but you want that mental clarity.

green tea

Green tea

Although not as popular as the mixed oolong teas or black teas we commonly associate with tea, green tea actually is growing as to its ability to be a fat fighter and profound ability to stabilize blood sugar for diabetics.

Brewing green tea

1 If you are out and need to make green tea properly, here are a few tips for this delightful drink.

2 Use bottled or spring water.

3 Get it up to 175 degrees on a fire, one tip is to boil it then remove the lid and let the steam out. Once the steam stops it should be the perfect temperature.

4 Steep your tea for 1 minute for the perfect green tea, bagged or loose leaves use the same time. If you go too long, it will be bitter.

5 Strain afterwards.

Protein shakes

If you have access to a blender, and want to combat fatigue, then a protein shake can be the ticket. Fruit, protein heavy compounds such as wheat germ, yogurt, quinoa, goat or cow’s milk, and even eggs can make a mood lifting drink.

Protein is needed when you are working strenuously not only by your body requirements, but to feed your brain replenishing amino acids.

Honey based drinks

All the way back to the bible, honey has been praised for its nutrient dense composition and multiple uses for its lovely taste. Just a quick drink made of hot water, honey, and lemon juice will give you an all-natural much needed energy boost while providing the calorie equivalent of a breakfast bar.

Dandelion tea

You wouldn’t think the little hardy plants we try so hard to kill every summer in the lawn would be such a great source of vitamins A, K, C, carbohydrates, potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium!

This plant could be an invaluable resource post collapse a sit is a natural blood pressure stabilizer and cancer treatment. The vitamin K in it improves bone health and is a natural bone knitting and blood clotting compound.  It is also a natural blood sugar stabilizer and would help fight diabetic episodes and can prevent coma.

Making dandelion tea

dried dandelion leaves

1. Use the roots or flowers of the plant. Collect 2 cups, rinse and strain.

 

boiling water

2. Boil 3 cups of water. A roiling boil is when steam is just starting to come off.

 

steeping tea

3. Add the plant matter and cover. The oil and extracts will boil away and evaporate if you do not cover the pan.  You can add it straight, or put it in a coffee filter and tie to make a tea bag.

4. Steep for 30 minutes.

 

tea color

5. You can strain the plant matter out and compost or use it as animal feed, or leave it in. You want a rich yellow color.

 

adding honey

color of tea

6. Honey or molasses to taste. I added sugared rose petals for extra vitamin C.

finished dandelion tea

 

Making dandelion coffee for detox and liver cleanse

1. Roast the dandelion roots after chopping them finely at 300 degrees on a baking sheet for two hours.

Before roasting:

dandelion roots

 

After roasting:

cooked dandelion roots

 

2. Collect the small remains, “grounds,” when cooled and put them in a coffee filter. If you have a food processor you can run them on “fine” to get smaller grounds.

ground roots

 

3. Tie the coffee filter with unwaxed dental floss.

tied loose roots

 

4. Use this as a coffee bag and let it steep in the boiling water for 10 minutes.

coffee

 

5. Pour your cup!

coffee done

 

Wrap up

As with many foods, the more processed the food, the less it retains its natural benefits. This makes many bottled and cans drinks just sugar water basically. So hopefully our tips in the why and how of making coffee, teas, and their equivalents can help you stay healthy and strong in an uncertain world.

The post Coffee, Green Tea or Dandelion Tea? appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

Ladies Step up to the Firearm Market

Women are coming in at a sizable slice of the shooting culture. Guns don’t discriminate, and shooting is a great equalizer in the playing field. I had always searched for smaller frames on guns to accommodate a lack of choice for women over the years.

I have favored Smith and Wesson .38 Specials. I would choose the smaller J-Frame over the larger K-Frame or L-Frames, leaving the same grips, one of 3 types of hammer designs, and not limiting load size. The Smith & Wesson J-Frame will shoot .22 LR, .38 S&W Special, .22 or the punishing .357 Magnum loads.  This seemed to work well for me.

Finally, gun companies are starting to acknowledge the female shooter and her different needs in size and form of a quality firearm. A smaller stature in build, strength and hand size is being noted in new designs without resorting to lower powered pistols or souped up youth models.

Her needs are the same as a male firearm owner: recreational, sport, hunting or for home and self-defense. While many companies now have brightly colored firearms, or those with highly fashionable finishes adequate fire power is still number one above flair.

A huntress still needs the ability to effectively kill her prey and in a self-defense position, power is still needed over comfort or fashion.

Manufacturers have stepped up to this design need in the current market and are starting to respond with some nicely full powered firearms by  smaller grip sizes and thickly padded stocks for absorption of recoil.

While some address a real need for female-friendly models in the firearm market, some are angling to the younger generation by appealing to family friendly outings by including daughters as well as sons in what used to be a father-son only activity.

The Remington 870 Express Jr. Pink Laminate 20-Gauge Pump Shotgun actually has a laser engraved “Shoot like a girl… if you can!” in its cute pink laminate stock.

The 2006 survey taken by U.S. Fish & Wildlife reported 46% of birders were women and a 9% overall number of hunters were women with the 2011 results showing the same numbers.  2011 was the last year they did it.

So ladies are keeping their foothold in the firearm market.

What is the best grip for a lady shooter?

My husband went to the range with his friend last week and noticed him using a rather odd grip on his pistol. My husband asked him “What’s with the weird grip and why don’t you hold your firearm properly?”

To which he responded that “So and so says it’s the right way and blah, blah, blah….”

grip 1

I should add at this time that the friend is a novice with firearms, my husband having just gotten him interested in them in the last couple of years; but he is merely adequate.  This fact I attribute to his utter refusal to listen to advice from someone with 37 years of experience in handling weapons.

grip 2

GET A GRIP: THUMBS UP, THUMBS DOWN?

After several failures to feed, and failures to eject caused by his protruding thumb impeding the slide, he went back to the way he was shown, which is a proper two-handed grip. Turns out he saw this odd grip on the TV show “Top shot” and figured that since those guys were on TV they knew more than my husband did about shooting. That didn’t seem to work out too well for him.

grip 3

I saw this grip on the show myself afterwards and, for the life of me; I fail to see a benefit to this grip style. As a matter of fact, if you become accustomed to this grip style and then get your hands on a big bore revolver like a .500 magnum, you could very well lose a thumb. I’m not a competition shooter so maybe I fail to grasp the concept, but that’s doubtful.

At my gun club, my husband consistently outshoots guys that are competition shooters (with multi-thousand dollar custom rigs and custom hand loads) with his $500 off-the-shelf PT92 AFS and off-the-shelf ammo, on occasions when they happen to bump into each other. They always try to get him try shooting competitively, but he’s just not the competitive type. But I do know that by holding the weapon in that odd manner you do not have a firm hold of the weapon, and your thumb could impede the slide. If shooting self defensively, the last thing you want to do is cause a weapon malfunction. That could cost you your life.

My husband’s grip preference is the one in the center photo above, and it works very well for me. This is how he teaches people to hold their weapons when he is instructing, but I suppose you should go for whatever works well for you. It’s not like I’m on TV or anything, but I like having 2 thumbs. Here’s a good piece on Zeroing your scopes with some nice tips.

To oil or not to oil

Want to keep your firearm running like a well-oiled machine? Well oil it- or don’t- it depends on the environment. If you live where you get a lot of rain and you spend time out in the woods a lot, and the temperatures are moderate. Then yes, you need to oil you gun to prevent rust from ruining the finish and damaging the internal springs.

But if you live in an area that is hot, dry, dusty or sandy, like a desert, then you really don’t want to get too carried away with the oil or don’t use any at all. Using oil in this environment may cause a damaging buildup of dust and sand in your firearm and guns like an AR15 tend to not like getting gummed up with gunk and grit and may fail you when you need it most.

Another place that you don’t want to oil your gun is very cold temperatures. Freezing temperatures can cause the oil to coagulate or even freeze to the point that it will not function properly. Myself personally, I clean my guns with Remoil and then rarely use additional oil. I do use an ever so slight dab of gun oil on a few key friction locations like the roller cams on my CZ52s, the track in the bolt carrier in my AK 47s, and on a few contact pints on the bolt in my AR15’s, but very sparingly.

For long term storage of firearms, not only would I oil them liberally, but also use the moisture absorbing dry packs in the safe or case, or even a dehumidifier in the safe to control moisture content.

Great video on the how-to of oiling your guns.

Have a blast with Tannerite targets!

Want to have a real blast next time you go to the gun range? Try these sure shot exploding targets, Star exploding targets, or some Tannerite exploding targets. These targets utilize a binary explosive to produce a thrilling BOOM when struck by a high velocity projectile. And now the sure shot targets have even come out with a new, .22 rimfire sensitive exploding target. These targets are a blast in every sense of the word. They are also excellent for those long range shots when it is hard to tell if you hit the target or not. Well if you hit these you will know!

These fun to shoot targets are perfectly legal (although I wouldn’t try to take them on a plane) and safe. They consist of two inert powders that when mixed together become explosive. They come in small ½ pound sizes up to ten pound buckets.

Don’t let the fact that these are “fun targets” fool you. These things will go boom! A friend of mine shout a 5 pound canister of it that was sitting about 12 or 18 inches away from a wooden backstop and it blew the backstop to pieces! The product is safe to use as long as you follow the instructions and are the correct distance from the targets when they are set off.

But be aware that if mishandled or set off to close they can be dangerous or even lethal! So go ahead, have a blast, but do it safely.

Here is a fun video showing Tannerite being shot:

Note: This is a legal product in all 50 states and is legal to ship under U.S. Postal Service Publication 52. This product will ship USPS surface only, ORMD. 100% safe cannot be exploded by flame or any other means other than a high velocity rifle round. I think we will have an article soon about making your own Tannerite, so stay tuned!

Final Thoughts

I just wanted to give a view from a lady that loves to shoot for fun and while not in competitions, still wanting to be able to have my guns perform and my my guns be as clean and in top shape as any professionals. Respect for fellow shooters and courtesy when you are handling firearms, on or off the range, is a great habit to practice.

Happy shooting!

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22 Ways to Save Money While Homesteading

Unless you are one of those well-known millionaire preppers off the coast of California, chances are you need to make homesteading as cheap and effective as possible. Saving money will not only make homesteading much simpler, but also it will also help you increase your stockpile.

You will find many saving tips that include you buying up gold and other precious metals for the time when currency stops being effective. While this is good advice, it is failing to think in the shorter term after SHTF. After all, immediately after a catastrophic event, money will still be useful and most people will not take your gold as currency; that will come at a later time.

You will have to save money mainly for two reasons, those are: emergencies and buying up equipment. The first one is self-explanatory, it is always a good idea to have some money reserved for emergencies, after all you know better than most that tragedy can strike at any moment and you should avoid being held back by them.

The second one requires a little more explanation. You will want to have equipment that lasts for a long time when SHTF and most of the time —though not all— the longest-lasting equipment is the most expensive. Saving up for these things will allow you to feel safer in your ability to provide for yourself in an emergency, since you know that your generator will not let you down, in this way by spending a little extra now you will be saving yourself a bunch further down the line.

Cutting Down Household Expenses

This is the first area where you will want to start cutting back as long as you remember that cutting back does not mean suffering. Statistically, people with larger savings accounts are those who are smart when spending for their home, these tips will not only allow you to keep afloat; they will also allow you to start saving up for emergencies and new equipment.

  1. Used Can Be Just as Good as New

This is a truly helpful thing to remember, most of the time we think that buying something new will mean that it will last longer. This is not necessarily true, especially since things today are made to last as long, so you go out to buy a new one. Buying old furniture will get you out of this vicious cycle, old furniture was made to last, and so it is guaranteed to last longer than an Ikea chair.

The same applies to clothing and other items. Buying at thrift stores and Goodwill will guarantee you a good price for gently used clothing. They will not look like hand-me-downs, but they will save you a ton of money. Also, if you have children, you can organize and exchange cycle with your neighbors, which is great because kids will be getting new stuff every once in a while and nobody will be any poorer for it.

  1. Get Used To Fixing Things Yourself

Perhaps you already know how to fix some things around the house; however, it is likely that you are would be able to repair anything if you had the right guidance. Before calling up a repairman to fix it, you should Google the problem and try to find the solution online. There are thousands of instructional videos uploaded every day, ranging from the simplest life hacks with the simplest tools to the most complex fix with heavy equipment. Look around and you will be able to save hundreds on repair work every year. This has the extra benefit of being able to repair anything after SHTF when you can’t depend on calling up a repair shop.

Search for parts online and find the best price, more often than not you will be able to find what you need for at least than half the price of what a repairman would cost.

Being able to repair your own things also means being able to repair the tools in which you use to repair your things. Keep this in mind when acquiring new fixing skills.

  1. Review Your Insurance and Other Bills

Every year review your insurance; look for better coverage, better prices, etc. This will not do much after SHTF, but at least it will help you make sure that you are protected while the system lasts and this is not to be underestimated. Do not just focus on the big companies either; some smaller insurance companies have lower rates to attract new customers, take advantage of this fact and search for a better option.

Do the same with the rest of your bills, whether it be the Internet, phone service, or anything else that comes with a monthly expense.

  1. Put Off Turning On The A.C

In warmer climates, this might seem like a hard thing to do, but the amount of electricity spent during the summer months on these kinds of appliances is enormous. There are many things you can do to keep cool during the summer without the A.C; here are a few of them.

  • Weather-strip doors and windows
  • Keep spray bottles around the house and spray your face whenever you get too hot
  • Open the windows early in the morning, when the sun starts climbing close them again
  • Consider investing in blackout blinds, if you can’t then put aluminum foil over the windows will do the trick
  • Plant trees outside your west-facing windows
  • Drink 8 glasses of water every day
  1. Put off Turning on the Heating

Following the same reasoning as the previous tip, putting off turning on the heating will drastically reduce your electrical bill. Living in rasher winter conditions, this might seem near impossible, but there are a few tips you can follow that will at the very least allow you to put it off for longer. Here are some of the most useful tips out there:

  • Once again, weather-strip your doors and windows!
  • Close off rooms that are not being used
  • Keep inside doors closed to stop the draft
  • Make a simple, cheap heater. Here’s one that will allow you to heat up a smallish room with almost no effort
  • Insulate your home by double glazing your windows, covering under door cracks, using fiberglass wool, and more.
  • Keep your blinds and curtains closed unless the window faces east
  • Cook at home! Cooking releases a ton of heat that is usually wasted

light bulb

  1. Replace Your Light bulbs

This is possibly the simplest money saving tip, simply replace all your CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lights) or Incandescent light bulbs with LED (Light Emitting Diodes) light bulbs. At first glance LEDs are more expensive (around $8 rather than the $1 or $2 you will spend on a CFL bulb); however, in the long-term LEDs are dramatically cheaper.

An incandescent light bulb will need to be replaced 21 times in 23 years while a CFL light bulb will need to be replaced three times in the same number of years; a LED light bulb will not need replacing in those 23 years unless you break it. Already there’s a significant difference between the three in terms of saving money.

At $0.12 per kWh (kilowatt-hour), an incandescent light bulb will cost you $180 for 25,000 hours; for the same time a CFL light bulb will cost you $42, and a LED light bulb will cost you $30.

In sum, the total cost of running an incandescent light bulb for 23 years is of $201 (that is more expensive than a 2-in-1 Food Saver); a CFL light bulb will cost $48, and a LED light will cost $38.

  1. Wash Your Clothes in Cold Water; Then Line Dry them

Washing in cold water will allow you to save as much as $1.08 on washday, it may not seem like much but looking at the bigger picture it is a lot of money saved every year. Line drying has the benefit of humidifying the air, which helps you stay warm during the winter and also saves money on electricity.

  1. Learn to Barter

Learning this particular skill will potentially save hundreds of dollars every year. Bartering is far more popular than you can imagine in rural areas where people might have to travel for a while to get their goods.

If you are homesteading then it is very likely that you are producing at the very least your own food. Now, it is rare that you produce the exact amount of food you will need, and it is impossible to produce all the food you need. So why not exchange those extra eggs for some animal feed?

Look for items that may have a high bartering value and produce them. My grandmother used to say that if I learned to make buttonholes, I would never be hungry and in the spirit of that is that we advise that you learn how to make these tricky items and use them, not only for your own benefit but also for bartering.

Food and Garden

The easiest way to save money while building a homestead is to grow as much of the food you consume as possible. Conservative estimates say that an average American family of four will spend around $500 a month on food and other household supplies. With the right care and equipment, it is not necessary to spend quite so much.

In fact, if you have any others in your neighborhood interested in homesteading, consider trading your equipment back and forth to accomplish your mutual needs. Gardening equipment can be expensive, so setting up a mutual lending system within your neighborhood may be the perfect way to split up front costs.

  1. Cook from Scratch

This means stop buying things you could be making at home. If you are already producing milk; then you can make your own cheese, butter, and cream, the same applies to pretty much anything in a supermarket. Sure, it takes a little longer and some planning but in the long run, you will be saving a lot of money.

seeds

  1. Seed Saving

This is easy and will instantly make you better prepared for when SHTF. You will not always be able to buy more seeds, either because you are short on money or because there simply aren’t any to be had. Pick the best produce from the garden and save the seeds. Make sure to research the various techniques to seed saving.

  1. Make Your Own Compost

Funnily enough, this is not something most people think about but making your own compost has huge benefits both to your pocket and the quality of your homestead. You might be tempted to buy a compost bin (or one of those fancy high-tech ones that make compost overnight) but it is dead simple to make one (here’s another).

Having compost will not reduce your expenses immediately, but it will do it in a more subtle way. The quality of your soil will increase dramatically, meaning that you will be able to produce a lot more with the same effort, which means you will have more items to barter or sell. You will stop buying fertilizers, which are getting alarmingly expensive, and be able to use your own product instead.

  1. Breed Animals for Sustainability

You will not always be able to order chickens online and, indeed, you might be spending more money than you need to by not breeding your own. Breeding for sustainability means buying once and keeping forever, get animals from different distinct bloodlines, and keep the best specimens to breed. With a large enough space you can breed practically anything but for cost-effective animals think of goats, chicken, turkeys and swine.

  1. Either Produce Your Own Feed or Buy It in Bulk

Animal feed has never been particularly cheap, if you are able you can seriously reduce the cost of keeping animals if you produce your own feed; it is hard work so if you are unable to make your own then you should look for offers and buy it by the ton. You will not, however, want to go for the cheapest offer as it can sometimes contain substances that will not do your animals any favors and you will end up having to pay for the vet to have them looked at or end up losing the animal completely.

natural landscape fencing

  1. Fence Strategically

You might be tempted to fence around everything you own; however, even the cheapest fencing can be costly if not used strategically (and cheap fencing will be quite useless to keep people out). Save the expensive fences for perimeter and valuables, think about using natural fencing plants. To keep animals and to separate orchards, think about building your own fences from pallets. Why not create a vineyard around the orchard; therefore, building a fence with a purpose.

  1. Building

Possibly one of the bigger costs is building costs. To save in this area, you will want to do as much of it yourself; this means acquiring new skills and perfecting them through (sadly) trial and error. Remember that you should only build the things you know how to build. Otherwise, it can quickly become unsafe and very expensive. Get an experienced friend to help out and don’t forget to return the favor later when they need you. Make sure to look for the sales. Catching some building materials on sale at your local building material store can save you some cash. Just make sure to store it inside your barn, storage building, or cover it up to keep it safe until it is needed.

  1. Finding Surplus Building Material

While in the planning stages of building, look around in your area for someone who has just finished one, it is likely that they will have some unused material they will sell cheaply just for the sake of getting rid of it quickly. Look around your local lumber mill and get gray and weathered lumber, they will sell it for next to nothing, and it is still useful (make sure it is not rotten though).

  1. Get Your Own Bandsaw Sawmill

If you are fortunate enough to live in a wooded area; then it is very likely that your most-used building material will be wood, so perhaps you want to think about not buying timber and simply cutting it into useful boards. Remember that the more independent you are, the cheaper you are living and the better prepared you are for SHTF.

  1. Pallets

Pallets are the most versatile things out there. The wood is tough, they are easy to transport, and already they have some structure. Best of all: they are free. You can find free pallets practically anywhere, from lumberyards to supermarkets to sporting goods stores; they are everywhere. Since they were designed to last for a very long time and resist heavy handling, pallets make for excellent building material in pigpens, coops, or goat barns. Here are some of the things people have made out of pallets, just to give you an idea of just how versatile they are (and perhaps inspire a few projects of your own).

Other Practical Tips

These are just some extra ideas on how to save money while homesteading, some of them are pretty common sense, but it is never a bad idea to mention them and their workings.

  1. Save $0.50 Every Day for a Year

This is so easy it almost feels like cheating. Setting aside just $0.50 daily is the simplest way of saving money. By the end of the year, you will have $182.5, which leaves you only $4 short of that Food Saver we mentioned earlier.

  1. If You Use It a Lot, Try to Make It Yourself

Toilet paper is one of the very few things that is hard to make at home, outside of that you can make pretty much everything yourself. This goes in the same spirit of tip number 9, the more you avoid going shopping, the more you save, and it is as simple as that. This does not mean that you should get used to lower-quality, homemade stuff, you can make high-quality sunblock using your food processor, toothpaste, and shampoo on your stovetop; it is only a matter of finding the instructions to make it. The less you depend on the outside world, the better prepared you will be and the less money you will spend.

  1. Think About What You Really Need

This tip applies to every area covered in this article and beyond. Before you start a new project, think about whether or not you will definitely need it and whether or not it is cost effective. Look into your closet, pantry, and shed and think about how many of the items in there you actually use and then buy replacements or completely new stuff according to your findings. Society today teaches us having more stuff makes us better this is not true. Having better and useful stuff makes us better.

  1. Grey Water

Consider using what is known as “grey water” for your gardening needs. Grey water is water that has been used for showering, washing your hands, and more, but is not contaminated with feces and other waste products. Use this it to water your plants, flush the toilet and so on.

Wrap Up

The tips listed here are probably the best out there. In truth, all you need to save money is to start spending it smartly and being able to distinguish between a good price and a rip-off so be sure to inform yourself. A smart customer is the last thing retailers want so become that person and do not allow them to cheat you out of your dollars.

Good luck!

The post 22 Ways to Save Money While Homesteading appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

What If Martial Law Were Declared in America Part Eight: Out of Options

This is part of our free, online and highly-praised survival fiction novel. You can read the rest of the parts here.

The winter holidays came and went. Marlee doted over her new colt, and worshiped the ground under Harlan’s feet. She watched over it like a brooding hen, often staring out the window for hours as the colt pranced about in its new coral.

Her father and her had built the structure out of saplings, and constructed a roof from their bows.

January was a harsh month, temperatures remained well below freezing for weeks. Marlee and her father worried over the colt, and decided to build walls for its small shed to stable the young foal. During the inclement days, he would need a straw bed, but Harlan managed only two bales when he returned that Christmas. Poor Tom would have struggled bringing more than the total five bales. It would have been too much for the big mule.

Marlee and her dad gathered spruce bows to lay under the sparse hay. This would form the bed for the foal that spring. It would keep the young thing up off of the frozen ground during the evenings.

Harlan told her that young colts will lie down quite often in their first year or so, until they gain enough strength to sleep standing as adult horses do.

Harlan purchased Marlee’s foal from a rancher. The same rancher he had bought the big mule from years before. They had been lifelong friends. Bill Mowatt was a horse rancher that lived north of Mayerthorpe in a dead end valley all his own. He was a 5th generation rancher, and with very little persuading, Harlan told the story of the young girl and her love of the animals.

Bill easily let Harlan have the colt for a reasonable price, and Harlan paid the man using his share of the gold-dust that he, and Murphy had panned months before.

After the exchange, he loaded up big Tom with as much feed and straw as he could haul, and left the ranch behind him that mid-December. They hauled a full pack, with three bales of Timothy.  Along with that were two bales of straw for the animals, and a supply of staples for the group. It was all Big Tom could bear. The trio hit the trail during the last moon that month. The snow lay deep, as deep as eight feet in some parts of the pass. It was passable through the trees where at times it was far less. The struggled along avoiding the dangerous tree wells, that could swallow a horse if one ventured to near.

It was a grueling trip, not that Harlan had not seen worse in his many decades of traveling the western mountains.

The extra weight of feed was not difficult at all for the great Mule. Tom seemed to enjoy hauling it through the deep snow. He only got nervous when it hung up on the narrow portions of the trail.

Harlan never took chances of injuring his big Mule, he talked to the pair as if they were lifelong friends. They walked the path quietly home, enjoying the solitude, and tranquility of the northern forest. Tom pulled the heavy load over the snow trails with ease, and the group slowly made their way back toward their valley, and their waiting friends.

divider

When winter was finally over, the last cold snap being more than two weeks ago. March rolled around, with temperatures returning to near freezing. This indicated the coming spring was finally on its way.

The few birthday celebrations and spring holidays over the months had lessened the doldrums of winter, and were a welcome break as they longed for the coming spring.

The snow on the beaver pond had melted several times and refroze. It frequently pooled on top during the thaws, and then refroze. This created the perfect skating conditions for the residents. They took the opportunity to play friendly games of ice hockey. Taking advantage of the smooth ice that had formed at its center.

None of them owned any skates, but merely slid about the ice in their boots. They used homemade hockey sticks taken from the curved alder saplings growing along the edge of the pond. The beavers had conveniently chewed the bark from the choicest sticks making them look almost homemade. The sticks resembled old fashion golf clubs that might have been used when the game of golf was first invented. They made use of whatever was handy for a puck. Sometimes using frozen horse turds as these were far easier to find then chasing a bouncing puck, lost in the deep snow surrounding the pond.

Marlee thought the horse droppings were most amusing, and giggled every time she got a shot at the goalie. She would then apologize for the rudeness and laugh.

Harlan… being Harlan, and always up for a challenge while never wanting to be left out of the activities, tried to play along… using his enormous make shift hockey stick, he hacked at the bouncing frozen puck, and despite his old age, he managed quite well.

Marlee always insisted she be on Harlan’s team, and helped the big man score three consecutive goals to win the coveted Michael’s Valley cup. That was the name of the valley by then, in honor of Bob’s Grandfather.

The young girl would pass the turd to the old man, as if she was his star wing man. They would race down the entire twenty-five yards of ice, passing back and forth. Harlan would pound the frozen lump toward the goal, using his massive stick, and score.

They were a team to be reckoned with. Everyone rolled about on the ice with laughter after Harlan made his final break away to score the victory goal.

Bob, liked being the goalie, and laughed uncontrollably, whenever letting them slide past him just to see the young girl’s beaming smile when they scored.

On one particular warm afternoon about mid-March, the group of friends crowded in the corner of the pond fighting for a bouncing puck. Hacking at the frozen block buried in the snow. It bounced above their flailing sticks, in a flurry of snow and wood, until someone connected and sent it flying toward the goal.

The group scurried behind the bouncing block, each trailing behind like happy fools that often fell in a heap laughing uncontrollably at the absurdity of it all.

During one of these sudden skirmishes, a loud bang occurred and the ice sank beneath the group’s feet. The dark water bled through brown looking like tea, as the crack expanded all around them.

Bob, Logan and Murphy still laughing… escaped without even getting their feet wet, but the young girl… Marlee sank beneath the rotting ice.

She disappeared out of sight within seconds.

A shock spread through the adults, as their panic set in. They gasped in horror at the finality of it all. Harlan reacted quickly as he was nearest, not hesitating. He dove head first into the frigid waters, right after the young Marlee. He did not even remove his buffalo hide coat, and followed behind the young girl into the dark waters. He disregarded his own safety and the icy chill.

His great bulk forced a wave of dark water up, and over the gaping hole in the ice. It splashed rolling across the white surface. Then turned the rink dark for an instance, before it dissipated beneath the crusted edges of the rink. The horrific gap widened in the ice as a result of the day’s warmth. Their game had become too close to the entrance of the beaver lodge where it always melted first.

This is where the feed pile of vegetation gives off warmth in its decaying, and the beavers frequently travel beneath the ice creating a thinning of the ice by their comings and goings throughout the spring season.

Harlan knew this all too well from years of trapping, but the frantic game and the fun they were all having, prevented him from heeding his own notion of safety.

The deepest part of any beaver pond is usually in this area as well. It is maintained at a sufficient depth by the animals to cover their entrance, and submerge the feed pile below the ice. The beavers will dredge the area in front of their entrance to maintain a sufficient depth.

It helps deter the many predators from entering the lodge during the summer months as well, and allows them free access to their underwater feed pile during the winter.

Most times it is deeper than even the big man Harlan can stand in, usually five or six feet beyond the thickest winter ice.

Several moments slowly passed as the group stared in horror. Harlan and Marlee were simply gone beneath the ice. The turbulent waters slowly settled and quieted for what seemed an eternity. The helpless on-lookers watched in shock as the turbulence settled.

Marlee’s father rushed toward the opening, hoping to save his darling girl, but before he could reach the boiling hole. The surrounding ice cracked beneath his feet. He did what he could, trying to lay flat. He crawled forward over the fracturing ice to distribute his weight more evenly. It was hopeless, a large sheet of the rotting ice broke free and Logan barely had a chance to push back in time before the sheet slid under the still solid surface.

Harlan, and Marlee were gone. Below they were fighting the blackness to get back to the opening in the ice above them.

Lynda screamed in horror, “Do something Logan!” Logan, without thinking, slid into the frigid water and frantically pawed beneath the solid ice using his hands, hopelessly diving beneath the dark surface. He came up three times, and slumped over. Murphy and Bob pulled him free, nearly succumbed. The men tried to locate Harlan, and the young girl, using their sticks. Their combined weight broke through the ice as they approached, not helping the situation at all.

Bob, reacted quickly, despite the ongoing panic, and dashed toward shore. He fell a dead tree, hacking at it with a nearby ax the group had used to create the skating party’s bonfire. He pushed the tree over toward the hole in hope that it might act as a pier for the ones in the water. The branches fell over the hole, and slapped at the still waters.

Murphy next sprang forward and quickly made his way out onto the ice sheet using the tree. Lynda screamed hysterically, horrified for her young daughter. While using the fallen tree like a makeshift foot bridge, he inched forward. His weight was too much for the rotting surface. He made his way toward the icy waters, and the missing skaters, as the branches sank beneath the brown water. The terrified group milled about in horror, unable to think of what else they could do. How could such a fine day go so wrong?

Suddenly an explosion, as Harlan erupted waist high above the murky, cresting in a great splash a miracle, holding the young girl in his huge hands. He literally threw her from the water with a heroic force. She flew above the ice, straight at her father’s waiting arms.

Logan grabbed for his daughter’s limp body, and immediately wrapped his coat around her, hugging her tightly and crying as she slowly came to life. The tiny girl coughed up the dirty water from her gasping lungs. She was alive…

Harlan flailed about in the brown swamp, weighed down by the massive Buffalo coat. It pulled him down to the bottom of the mire twice before he could get a firm hold of the ice. He pawed at the tree limbs gasping, and they broke, and bent beneath his flailing arms.

Murphy extended a hand to pull in the mountain man. His massive size was just too much for the rotting ice, and Harlan knew this. The exceptional morning was to warm. Perhaps it would have held them both but, by afternoon, the sun had rotted the ice far much.

That morning, perhaps it would have held them both, but the warm afternoon sun had rotted the ice too far. Murphy nearly tumbled in after his friend if Harlan had not let go when he did… Harlan knew that both men would have ended up in the icy waters.

Even while using the felled tree, it could not bear their combined weight. The tree simply sank uselessly beneath the muddy opening.

Harlan yelled at Murphy in a great booming voice, “Get back, I’ll get out on my own.” He shouted as he flailed at the branches.

“Get that girl home NOW,” he yelled so loud Logan jumped… realizing he was still standing there with his daughter, watching the spectacle.

The drowning man struggled to pull himself from the icy waters, and slowly succumbing to the frigid temperatures. Even the great Harlan Pettimore could not get out of this predicament this time.

Lynda and Logan wrapped their little girl in their dry jackets, and raced to their cabin as fast as they could. They needed to remove her wet clothing and warm the poor girl by the woodstove before she yielded to winter’s bony grip on her.

Despite Murphy and Bob’s efforts, Harlan could not be saved. Murphy managed to scrambled back to shore, as the tree was not enough to hold the great man’s weight. Harlan was weighed down by the massive coat, and simply too large to climb out on his own.

He slowly stopped struggling in the frigid waters. His heavy coat clung to the man like a death shroud that might as well been made of iron.

He fought and each attempt dwindled in effect, barely able to keep his head above water he stopped struggling. It was hopeless for the great man. Without any way of pushing off the bottom, Harlan had no way to climb up onto the ice or the tree.

He waited panting from the excursion as his breathing slowed. His strength leaking away by the deadly cold.

Harlan shivered uncontrollably, his body fought to stay warm. Icicles formed on his white hair and beard.

He looked up with a glassy stare, and spoke calmly to the Bob, and Murphy,

“Now, you young fellas, I’ve been in some pretty tight spots before.” He paused to catch his breath, another tremor over took him.

His face was losing its cherry hue.

He continued, “This might be the tightest spot yet,” his chest heaving under the strain. “But… I need you two to listen to me, okay?” The men nodded from shore in affirmation.

Each dying a little inside as they watched Harlan slip away in the frozen pond.

Harlan gulped for air. It looked odd… to see steam began to form on the water around the hole, making it look as if he were in a warm bath.

“Go and get me some rope,” he tipped his head toward the cabin, using every ounce of his being. “Elly… or Tom, bring ‘em down here,” he gasped again for another breathe.

He calmed himself, and slowly continued, “bring ‘em down here to haul me out… They’ll mind you Murphy, you go quick, they know you best. You RUN… hard now, son… do as I say.” Murphy took off like a scolded cat. He covered the quarter mile or so across the field in record time.

Harlan looked thoughtfully at Bob now, “you pile some wood on that fire Bob, make it big… I might need to get warm after this.” The words were an understatement.

When Murphy arrived at the cabin, he was shaking with adrenaline. He grabbed Elly’s halter hanging from the tree, and fed the bit into the horse’s mouth, then slipped it over her head.

Elly seemed to know something was up, she took the bit without any fuss, sensing Murphy’s panic in his manner.

He grabbed the lariat from the tree, and swung himself onto the painted horse’s bare back. He kicked at Elly’s sides using both heels, and blazed across the open meadow toward the pond.

The snow flew up in muddy chunks high behind Elly’s hooves as she covered the distance like a barrel racer. Murphy drew near the pond and saw Bob had piled timber on the fire in an attempt to create a raging bonfire. The flames rose high above the nearby scrub. Murphy knew what Bob was attempting to do. He felt the heat as he approached the pond. He assumed Bob was attempting to get it ready for Harlan.

Harlan would need to warm himself as soon as he was pulled from the icy waters. The chances were not good that the big man would make it to the cabin before the icy temperatures killed him, if he made it at all.

When Murphy rode up, Bob was frantically throwing branches on the blazing fire. He knew Harlan was right, and Bob knew at Harlan’s age… his chances were slim that he would survive such a shock to his heart, especially after spending that much time in the icy water. Even at his great size, the waters would reduce his core temperature rapidly. He would most likely have a heart attack soon.

Elly jerked to a halt when she saw Harlan in the waters, she swung her head wildly up and down, and whinnied. She seemed to know instinctively not to walk out on the ice, but tried anyhow.

The paint horse pawed at the shallows, breaking the thin ice beneath her hooves, and she scrambled back with fear. Suddenly she started bucking for no reason, just sheer excitement. Murphy jumped to the ground, and calmed her. Talking to her quietly. He needed her to remain calm to pull Harlan from the waters.

Meanwhile, Harlan had grown so weary he could no longer shout at his Elly, not even to calm her. He called out to her, spouting frozen whispers through chattering teeth… making garbled noises, not words. He talked to himself incoherently now, as he slouched lower in the waiting mire.

Harlan had been hanging on by only one arm for twenty minutes or more. All the color had drained from his face… it now had a ghostly grayish hue. He was near unconscious and yet still hanging on.

Bob could hear the man’s teeth chattering as he watched helplessly. His friend was now slowly succumbing to the frigid waters.

“Harlan,” Bob yelled at his dying eyes, “Murphy’s here, you hang on, you hear me?”

Bob waited for any sign that Harlan understood.  He yelled again, “We’ll get you out of there right away. Just you stay calm.”

Harlan was delirious, he seemed to be in his own world now. No doubt wrestling with death himself.

He looked like he was rapidly slipping away, and Bob knew it would not be long. He shouted again at Harlan, repeating his name over and over.

Bob’s training in combat had honed him to such predicaments, he often, was called to men near death. In a sense Bob, had kept them from drowning beneath their grim embrace of the war and death. Many times he had shouted at dying men in combat. It can sometimes bring them back from the abyss. When men are slipping into unconsciousness from wounds, drowning beneath that inevitable end, the medics and the corpsman of war do try, and attempt to snatch back those souls from that final sleep. Often, the medics would yell their names at their faces, jolting them into wakefulness, and turning them away from that long nevermore… that end.

Shakespeare put it as, “To die: to sleep; No more… To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub; For in that sleep of death what dreams may come, when we have shuffled off this mortal coil…”

No one knows… thought Murphy. He readied the horse and rope.

“HARLAN, CAN YOU HEAR ME?” Bob’s shouts were barely enough, he nodded feebly, and lifted his one arm out of the icy water… a mere reflex.  It wouldn’t be long now, Bob knew they had to get him out soon.

“MURPHY HAS GOT ELLY… YOU’LL BE ALRIGHT NOW… YOU HANG ON… JUST ANOTHER MINUTE… OKAY, HANG ON.” Bob shouted at his friend. The old man nodded, looking far beyond hope.

Harlan appeared to be drifting off as if he were falling asleep.

The effects of his drop in body temperature was causing sluggish behavior.

Bob, knew it soon might induce heart failure in such an old man as Harlan, and yet somehow the mountain man hung on. He certainly was as tough as a pickax handle, and yet that may not be enough to save him this time.

Of all of Harlan’s adventures and dangers he had faced over a lifetime, an afternoon hockey game was to be his end.

Harlan whispered things toward the sky. It reminded Bob of the first day he met the man, and how he would speak to the sky sometimes. He stared up at the sun, on that blue day… It was a good day to die… he whispered to himself. No one else could here him now…

Murphy ran to the edge of the pond. He swung the lariat at Harlan’s head. Harlan grabbed for the line but his hands were too stiff. He simply could not grasp the rope. He moved an arm but had no control over his fingers to close over the thin rope.

Bob shouted at Murphy, “Use a loop, and throw it over his head.” Murphy pulled the rope back furiously, and did as he was told. He opened the lariat, and readied himself to swing it over Harlan’s head.

Bob held up a hand to halt Murphy for an instance to first talk to Harlan. He yelled at Harlan again, “HARLAN, I NEED YOU TO LISTEN… LISTEN TO MY VOICE…” He smiled at the dying man. Harlan then looked back at Bob.

Bob, spoke carefully, “RAISE ONE HAND OVER YOUR HEAD,” Like this. He demonstrated to the big man what he meant, mimicking the motion of a raised arm.  “MURPHY WILL LASSO YOU,” he nodded as he stared into the man’s dimming gray eyes, and Harlan nodded back.

He surely was the toughest man Bob had ever known.

“YOU NEED TO GET THE ROPE UNDER YOUR SHOULDER SO IT WON’T CHOKE YOU__ DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME HARLAN?” Harlan nodded again, bleary-eyed.

He was barely able to move his head, but he held on. The surrounding water rippled from his convulsions. His body fought against the cold.  He tried lifting his right arm, it failed to move, the strength needed to hold on and stay above the water was just too much. It prevented him from using his strongest arm.

Bob knew that, if Harlan let go, he would surely sink to the bottom.

“Use your other arm Harlan,” he spoke quietly now, as if he were sitting across from him at a dining room table. His calm tone jolted the dying man awake again, and he smiled meekly at Bob… “Ah, John there you are,” he was delirious now. Bob knew Harlan thought he was his grandfather, John Michaels.

Harlan raised his left arm. It shook …as if he were holding some great weight above his head.

He slowly extended the arm above the steaming water.

Murphy swung the lasso at the shivering fist and missed with his first toss.

Bob shouted at Murphy, “CONCENTRATE MAN.”

Murphy quickly pulled the lasso in and readied for another throw. He used a larger loop this time, and threw it hard, and right over Harlan’s trembling limb. It fell all around Harlan’s body, ending up diagonally across his shoulder and chest just as Bob had hoped.

Murphy ran with the lose-end of the rope, toward Elly. He didn’t have time to saddle the horse before riding to the scene, and all he could do now was toss the lose-end over the paint horses back, and grabbing it under her belly he wrapped it across her chest. He held it firmly in a fist, as he steady her, patting her shoulder. Elly seemed to anticipate the move, crowding Murphy in anticipation. She nearly stepped on his foot with her nervous angst, as she readied to pull Harlan out.

Murphy held the rope fast, keeping it taught, and wrapped it in his hand. He backed the animal away from the hole, pushing her chest as he backed her up.

The animal stepped lively toward the meadow and Murphy held the Lasso firm.

She pulled so hard that Harlan groaned from the force on his chest. It was crushing him against the still solid ice surrounding the hole. Harlan wailed from the pressure.  The force made Harlan come to his senses. He had stopped responding to Bob’s yelling by now, but suddenly brought back to life by the pressure on his chest.

The big man filled his lungs with one heroic breath, and let out a wild growl, like some angry bear. He shoved down hard on the ice with both arms, breaking a sheet off beneath his great weight. Elly pulled on the big man and lifted him and the broken sheet across the solid ice, like a sled. Harlan rode the sheet out over the brown water in a large dirty wave of water, and he spilled out onto the solid ice.

He cursed aloud from the pain and the cold, as the air hit his drenched body. He lay there shivering exposed. The air temperature was much colder than the water and it hit him like an electrical shock.

The true thing that kills a person in ice water isn’t just the temperature, It’s the direct contact with an inexhaustible draw of body heat such as water. Water is always above freezing, the danger is the fact your body temperature will never warm the massive body of water you are laying in, and so your body’s heat is continuously wicked away from you, and death’s cold fist slips in to claim your life.

“Damn it boys, get me the hell home,” he gritted the garbled words through clenched teeth, and shook uncontrollably.

Bob dashed over to his friend. He quickly untied the rope from his chest allowing him to breathe freely, and began rubbing his arms and legs to increase their circulation. He shouted to Murphy, “COME HELP ME GET HIM OVER TO THE FIRE,” he threw his coat over the big man’s body.

Harlan was a heavy man, and made all the heavier in his wet Buffalo coat. Bob and Murphy frantically stripped him of the massive hide, and struggled to drag his shivering body through the crusted snow. They brushed off the frozen crystals of ice from his wet leggings and laid him near the blazing bonfire. Time was of the essence to save this man’s life.

Within minutes, steam was rising from his darkened buckskins. The fire roared above the men’s heads. The flames melted the snow and ice in every direction. Melt water pooled around the fire, creating a moat that crept toward Harlan’s shivering body, now exposed to the winter breeze.

If he were left alone, he would have fallen into the growing pool and died on his own. It was forming rapidly around the bonfire. He lay helplessly, shivering, lying in its melt water. Bob slapped at Murphy’s arm, and yelled, “Let’s get some evergreen for him to lay on.”

The men split up, and ran for the nearby trees, wading through hip deep wet snow, they gathered the evergreens needed to save their dying friend. When they returned only minutes later, they found Harlan had passed out from the shock.  His head had slumped to one side.

Bob shed both gloves and checked for a pulse, he quickly rolled the big man on his back. With all his might, he grabbed under his arms and heaved. He began dragging him up onto the evergreen bows. Murphy took both legs up under his arms, and lifted with all he had.

They lay him on the dry bows, and Bob raised a clenched fist high in the air and punched down hard on Harlan’s chest with such a force, Murphy thought he heard a bone break. He began CPR on his friend.

He crushed downward, pumping with all his weight, up and down, up and down, trying to revive his failing heart. Stopping just momentarily, to check for breathing and some sign of a pulse.

He repeated the procedure five or six times, then stopped to check again.

First he listened for breathing, then pulse. He repeated the steps over twenty times. Periodically checking his vital signs, but nothing…

Bob looked gravely at Murphy, but continued… determined as he went through the motions for another fifteen minutes.

Murphy suddenly envisioned Bob on the battle field, dressed in his fatigues, with enemy gunfire spraying all around him and his platoon. The vision filled Murphy with dread, it shook him back to reality.

Another twenty attempts went by…

Murphy touched Bob’s shoulder, and spoke to him calmly, “Bob.” He shook his friends arm slightly. Bob was still in a frenzy trying to revive the old man… pumping hard up and down on Harlan’s lifeless body.

He violently tossed Murphy’s hand from his shoulder, and continued. “He’s not dead,” he shouted at Murphy without looking up from Harlan’s face. He checked his eyes for life… and continued.

“Bob,” Murphy try again to calm his friend. “BOB,” he shouted at him, and touched his friend’s shoulder again. “He’s gone…let him be.”

Bob desperately pumped on the man’s chest two more times before the notion settled in his mind. His friend was gone. He gave one final blow to his chest, and slouched back by the man’s side, “Damn you Harlan, why’d you have to go, and die?”

He shook his head as beads of sweat dripped from his forehead, and stared at his friend’s lifeless stare. He whispered the words directly at his friends face, “Why did you have to die, you bastard?” Murphy and Bob sat back on their haunches …as a light snow began to fall all around them. Bob let his arms fall to his side from exhaustion, and stared down at Harlan’s blue frozen face. His mouth, gaped wide, revealing that golden tooth… that so often flashed when he smiled.

“Marlee’s going to be heart broken,” Murphy said softly to himself… as he too stared at his friend’s lifeless body. The sudden image of the little girl reminded the two men about her battle too. “I hope she’s alright,” Bob spoke calmly as if in a trance.

He looked stone-cold, stoic, even after losing his friend he was still a soldier at heart. He shook it off, and moved on. It was like so many other losses in his life, he said, “We better check on her and see how she is doing.”

The two men sat heart broken, and didn’t move for several more minutes. They pondered, and stared at Harlan for what seemed an eternity, still their dear friend did not move. The snow slowly fell, and covered his cooling body. Murphy felt gloom as the snowflakes fell and refused to melt on Harlan’s forevermore vacant stare.

“What are we going to do with him, Bob,” Murphy asked… unable to process what to do next.

“I mean we can’t just bury him, not in this frozen wasteland. Perhaps we should bring him to the cabin until spring and the thaw is here…”

They agreed, and still stared at their friend. They felt down hearted as they felt they would need to prepare themselves before telling the others of Harlan’s death. They waited quietly horrified.

How could such a beautiful blue day end this way?

Murphy reflected back to that moment long ago, when Harlan and he were coming home from the gold claim, a few months before.

“I have something to ask you Bob. It’s going to sound weird, but I think I know how Harlan wanted to be buried.”

Murphy looked oddly at the body lying there. “Some of you are NOT going to like it,” he spoke humbly as he stared at Harlan lying on the frozen ground.

He then poured it out quickly as if it needed to be said all at once, to be said correctly, all while the snow continued to fall. It seemed odd, and while watching the flakes settle on his white beard, he again realized Harlan was truly gone.

Murphy spoke the words directly at Harlan’s face, speaking softly as if he could somehow still be heard by the old man. He paused for a moment, waiting for some confirmation. Oh how he deeply wanted it, if only he would say something once more, and open his gray eyes once again…

Bob looked over to Murphy with a questioning stare, and squinted through the now blizzard of white falling all around the men…he shook his head slightly, “Why, what do you mean?”

“He told me when we were riding back from the gold claim last fall, of how he wanted it…” He paused, again, “You know to end up… finally… for him.”

Bob, shifted from one knee to another as he crouched beside Harlan’s body. “Why what did he say,” he asked Murphy waiting for the words, and somehow knowing what they might be.

“He said he hoped the wolves and raves that had been following us that day, would feed off on his dead body. He said that to me that day; that was how he wanted to end up when he died.” To be left in the open for the animals to feed on.”

Murphy held up a finger, and smiled remembering the conversation, “As a matter of fact, I believe his exact words were as I recall them now.” They suddenly were resounding clearly in Murphy’s mind …as if Harlan were once again speaking them to him right then.

“I hope when I die, that those wolves out there, feed on my corpse. That would be how I want to end up. Let the ravens and crows, and magpies pick my bones over, let the mice nest in my skull, and the wolverines can crack my bones for their marrow. That is how a want to go out…”

“That’s ridiculous,” Bob said staring at Murphy in disbelief …feeling still aggrieved.  Then slowly the look of horror, melted away from his face and he laughed to himself and smiled, slowly realizing that it made perfect sense. “I’m sure Harlan would not want it any other way, and you and I will make it happen Murphy.” Bob stood up, “Come spring we’ll do just that.”

Murphy smiled, “I’m pretty sure that I know the perfect spot, too.”

“Where?” Bob asked…

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Weeks had passed by since the group had lost their friend. Marlee had pulled through the ordeal with flying colors, but she hadn’t taken Harlan’s passing well at all. She spent a lot of time by herself. This worried Lynda, and Logan. Then the day to of Harlan’s funeral had finally come. She seemed ready, and fought back tears when she saw the body again.

The group never got around to preparing the big man’s corpse over the weeks since his death. Murphy and Bob, did prepare him as best they could. His face had a sunken look to it, and his mouth had stretched into a horrible death scream. Murphy gravely said, “Marlee wouldn’t want to remember her friend in this state.”

It would be proper to hide the death face from her. The men decided to sew a canvas body bag for their friend. He lay quite stiff and prone, frozen solid… waiting on a bench that Bob had set for him, sheltered beneath the cabin’s over hang in the back.

He was now wrapped in heavy canvas, and laid under the overhang out of the weather. It had warmed, and was now time for the funeral. The trail north wound past the prescribed burial spot, and mostly cleared of deep snow. It was mid-April now. The several feet of snow that had accumulated on the trail during the winter, was mostly melted, and it was ready to travel once again.

Bob, and Murphy laid out the big man on the travois pulled by Tom. The mule knew his master had died, and pulled the body with slow and steady, as he headed north to the spot that the men had prepared a month earlier. They had built an elevated air burial plot, and by that spring day, the residents arrived with Harlan’s body, ready to pay their respects.

Marlee was dressed in her rabbit fur jacket she and Harlan had sewn over the winter from the furs she had snared. The girl held a bouquet of dry winter flowers to her chest. She had made them originally for her mom last fall, but insisted Harlan should have them instead, for his funeral.

The grim procession of residents made its way north to the clearing that Harlan and Murphy had watched the pack of grey wolves follow the elk herd many months before.

Murphy brought Bob to the exact spot last month to show him, and explained how he thought it should be prepared. The two men had cleared an area for the platform, and built it on the lower limbs of the great spruce. The same ancient tree that Murphy had lain against when Bob first found him a year ago, the same tree Harlan and Murphy stopped at when they water their horses that day the wolves were seen. The monstrous tree, was nearly three hundred years old. It was a fitting monument for any mountain man. Harlan had spent nearly his entire life in these hills, and he deserved to remain there eternity.

It was here where Harlan told Murphy of his desire to become part of the ecology in his own special way.

After Harlan’s death, Murphy had studied up on native Indian procedures, and after the tragedy at the pond, he looked up ways to accommodate his strange request, Murphy decided on an open air burial in the manner of the Crow Indians, using their burial style in the trees.

It resembled the method used by the indigenous plains Indians. The Cree and some other natives used raised platforms, some out on the prairies used stilts, and for centuries before the missionaries stopped the practice.

The Northern Crow burial however, was different, as they lived in the forested regions to the north, they used the limbs of great trees for their platforms instead of manmade stilts, like those needed on the prairies. This was how Murphy honored their dead friend… by laying him in the raised branches of the great trees, as if he were an offering. Trees such as the massive spruce have spiritual significance to many tribes. The old timers felt as if they had some power in them, and that no one could deny.

This burial seemed fitting, as the group gathered around the cloaked body. He lay peacefully across the low branches, as if his body was being held up in some great arms of the tree, she cradled him in her protective embrace, it was humbling to view the group gathered around their friend.

The men had selected the side that faced west, and chose the lowest limbs to the ground were the wolves might gather if they so wished, during the setting sun.

Bob knew from his trapping days, that even if the wolves could get at the body of Harlan Pettimore, they most likely would never feed on the corpse. The higher level predators rarely feed on human remains unless they are desperate. The task of consuming bodies is left to the scavengers, such as coyotes, ravens, and other small birds and animals.

No, it was unlikely that wolves, cougars, and bears would eat the remains. The whole idea seemed gruesome to Marlee at first. She respected Harlan’s wishes though, and accepted the strange request, never mentioning it again.

Again, a brilliant blue day appeared, just like the day Harlan and Marlee fell in the beaver pond. The sun was now sinking low over the west ridge. It cast long brooding shadows across the patches of spring snow, making them glow orange high on the slopes in the fading light.

The vigil gathered about their dead friend, ready to pay their last respects. Marlee stepped forward and reached up to the body first. She placed her dry flowers on Harlan’s chest, then wiped a tear from her eye. Lynda gently touched her daughter’s shoulder, and guided her back to her side so others may approach the body.

Bob was next, he placed his hand on the canvas were Harlan’s head was, and whispered a few words to him. He then backed away.

Murphy waited patiently until Logan and Lynda had paid their respects. Each person placing an item on or near the body. Then Murphy stepped up, his item was a gold nugget from their claim. He slipped it under the shroud, near Harlan’s heart.

He felt close to Harlan after their adventures at the claim …having spent a week with him up river. He felt obliged to speak on everyone’s behalf at this point.

He spoke as poetically as best he could. He began, “Harlan was a gift, like a warm Chinook wind, he blew into our lives quite unexpectedly, and melted our hearts. And just like those warm winds that melt the snow from our valley every spring. He too was welcome… as needed as those warming breezes are and now he is gone, just like those winds.”

Murphy was oddly humbled by the moment, and spoke openly.

“Harlan was probably the finest man I have ever known.” He, choke on the words, but carried on. He gathered himself, trying to continue.

“I have an old verse from a Celtic prayer… I wish to share with you all. I suspect Harlan would have liked it, or so I hope… I pray somehow he is still able to hear these words.”

Murphy pulled a small folded piece of paper from his breast pocket, and cleared his throat,

Harlan Pettimore if you can hear me… this is for you,” he nodded at the corpse lying before him.

May the warm winds of benediction blow hourly over your hallow grave, and may the glorious songs of the wild things exalt their hymns forevermore in this your heavenly valley.”

The group lifted their heads…

“Be at peace our good friend, you will be missed.”

With that being said, Murphy lifted Harlan’s whiskey jug up, and poured out a dram of Moonshine on the ground. He then took a long drink to hide the fact he had tears in his eyes. He then passed it to Logan, and wiped his face with his free hand and smiled.

Logan took a swig, and everyone took their turn, even Lynda.

Marlee was handed the jug last of all, she just hugged the big clay jug. Murphy handed her the cork, and she silently pushed it into the mouth, and wiped her runny nose with a mitten.

She handed the jug back to Murphy, who then stepped toward the body again, and punched the cork down hard, setting it flush, to the neck. This was to symbolize Harlan’s end of life, and the last drink… his fair well. The jug must never be uncorked again. Murphy then stood it on the platform near Harlan’s head.

That was the final blow for Lynda. She fell to her knees beside Marlee. She began to cry uncontrollably, holding one hand on the Harlan’s ribs. She knew her little girl’s life, would have been taken from her that day, if it were not for this bigger than life mountain man. She whispered her thanks to the body…

Marlee began to cry too, and both girls fell to bawling as they held each other, their eyes filling with tears. The two held one another shaking beside the frozen corpse of their dearly departed friend.

Murphy reflected to himself, “a finer funeral could not be had by anyone,” and he moved off.

The golden light of dusk… crept up the distant slopes of the great western facing hills, and the men moved away toward the meadow. They gathered at the clearing near the edge of the matted brown grass, and waited for the girls to finish.

Just then, a lone and faint howl from a lone wolf began, it rose high up on the ridge, well above the valley floor. The men all tipped their faces toward the soulful music. No one seemed surprised by the event. Murphy spoke first, “That’s probably Harlan,” and the men laughed slightly.

It somehow felt probable. Nothing about that old man would surprise any of them that knew him. He had more wild in him than he had man… and of that there was no doubt.

The howl slowly subsided, like taps would be played for a fallen soldier.

“It feels odd to leave him out in the open like that,” said Bob. “Yet it still feels right, too.”

He paused as if thinking about what he had just said, repeating it again privately in his head. He smiled at the others, “You know, if it were anybody else left out like that, it would be unconscionable.”

The others quietly nodded again in agreement.

They passed a flask of whiskey around. Murphy took a big swig, and spoke softly, “I’ll visit him every once in a while, just to tidy things up if it looks, you know, disrespectful. Well, you know what I mean.” The others nodded in agreement same as they had before, and said nothing more. For there was nothing more to be said.

Marlee and Lynda came toward them still holding each other, apparently they had finished their private vigil.

“Should we get back,” Lynda looked at Logan in a way that only husbands and wives understand. Logan smiled at his wife, and winked. “Come on Marlee, you can ride on Elly with Murphy.”

Logan and Lynda climbed up on Tom, and Bob rode in the travois where Harlan’s body had lain just moments before. He sat crossed legged and comfortable. Death did not bother Bob. He had seen plenty of in his lifetime and had moved beyond the superficial idea of it. Bob moved on from death much better than those less experienced, and he had seen more than his share in his life already. He sat back, and let the orange glow fill his closed eyes.

Not many words were spoken by the group on the way back to the cabin. Marlee pointed at three noisy chickadees that had been darting about through the trees as they rode the trail home. The birds had followed the group since the funeral, and the young girl smiled at the energetic wood sprites darting about the group.

“Look,” she pointed.  “Harlan sent them to follow us,” she began crying all over again, but gritted her teeth and stopped herself somehow. Tears still ran down her face, and she imagined Harlan sending them to carry his spirit back to their little spot in the valley to be with her and her family from now on.

Murphy smiled down at the little girl sitting behind him. She looked up at him. He nodded to her quietly, “that would be just like that old man to send them. You know something Marlee, Harlan told me you meant the world to him.” She hugged Murphy’s waist, and casually lay her head against his back, whispering, “I know”, and that was all she said.

The group felt the big man’s presence following them home that day, and they watched the birds flit from tree to tree, escorting the procession home, just as Marlee said they would…

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April ended finally, it had brought the many expected showers. They were hard, but a welcome respite, and much better than the heavy snows the group had become so accustomed too. The showers brought a touch of spring to the valley, and soon washed away even the deepest patches of snow lying on the upper slopes. The rivers and the creeks brimmed from the run off. Their banks held fast, and the rain brought a rapid growth to the valley. Spring had arrived.

The men readied the ATVs for the coming summer. Bob had been worried about the amount of fuel that was left in the few cans they had left. Now that the Granville family had an ATV too, the supply had dwindled twice as fast as Bob had expected.

That evening the group gathered at Bob’s cabin, and sat watching the satellite TV. It showed how martial law was still in effect. The scene in the country had gotten worse since their exodus from the city of Metro. Much of their hometown was under a constant military aggression, either by the local militia or the various feral vigilante factions, not to mention the military coup that was taking place across the country. It was a confusing time for all. The nation was fractured into a hundred pieces, each piece having a different interest, a different view of right and wrong.

The Home Guard was what the local militia called themselves these days. They were local, and mostly content with guarding the vulnerable neighborhoods from the anti-fascist gangs and the vigilante groups. The rub was that the government had brought in an active force of UN troops from Europe, and even some African and Russian mercenaries were among them. They had been brought in to quell the coup started by the so-called rebels. It all made it hard to tell who was dismantling the remaining government, the UN troops or the scattered uprisings. Most had doubts there was a United States anymore, and believed their government had lost complete control of the nation.

The tension that this confusion created in the Military was too much for the leaders of their forces to endure. A coup seemed eminent. It would be impossible to suppress, as many soldiers deserted in droves. Believing their commanders were acting against their oath. In many ways it resembled the beginning of the 1860s, the nation’s last civil war.

Entire divisions had seized control of regional military bases, and using conventional weapons, took control, including the many air-force assets. Most aircraft disappeared into the night. The country was tearing apart, in every direction. It seemed largely unexplainable, to most that witnessed it, yet Bob suspected it all along, he claimed.

There were rumors emanating through the forces that recently an entire base, all of Fort Bragg had been taken by the patriots. Captured without any resistance, being controlled by rogue generals and a division of army engineers who had refortified it. They ceased the massive base, and used it to capture and align with many other bases. Even creating hidden landing strips in the mountain areas all across the nation.  Most military bases had been in lock down for months prior, with high alert status. Yet now many were being controlled by the patriotic military commanders. Was it a civil war or resistance to an invasion…? That much was never clear.

These patriots, along with their commanders, felt it justified for the defense of the nation, fighting against what was seen as a foreign invasion, and the UN takeover of America.

Very little resistance was had by the capturing of assets throughout the western states, and a good deal of personnel saw it as a response to the unconstitutional take over, so un-American. Soldiers cheered when they found out they were no longer under the UN umbrella.

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Bob, and Murphy decided they would have to make a run to town for fuel. They knew it needed to be soon, especially if they were to continue to use the motorized equipment, the ATVs, augers or chainsaws. They had grown to rely on these items, they were hard to give up. Murphy considered distilling fuel for the group, as Harlan showed him before he passed. If only he could convert the engines to ethanol, he wondered? For that he would need parts from town too, carburetor parts he didn’t have, new jets, and seats for the engines.

The group considered a covert mission to Misty Lake… first to get fuel to make a run to Metro. Their plan was a reconnaissance of the valley and then raiding its resources. Murphy considered the fact that they were the aggressors now, stealing resources for themselves.

The fickle philosophy of survival… Somehow it seemed okay for their group to steal supplies from the enemy.

First they would check the fuel tanks at the gas station in Misty Lake, and then the bulk tanks at the boat launch before making their way into Metro for supplies. The added fuel would make it much easier to travel the 150 miles to town.

Murphy and Bob hoped to have Logan and Marlee escort them to Bob’s jeep. Then, using Harlan’s animals, to drop them off. They would make a run to the east, and Misty Lake, stealing fuel for the mission. The idea was to drop them, and take the animals back home after the drop off.

Murphy and Bob would hit the valley for resources, and head to Metro. After the mission, they would rendezvous back at the same point in two weeks’ time. They could then move the fuel, and whatever else they gleaned from the city to their valley.

Bob had stashed his Jeep under cover months ago, it lay hidden in the bush under a camo tarp. He parked it far off the main trail, hidden behind a picket of brush that he had cut and stacked around the vehicle in a hedge.

The two men pack their rifles, and Bob threw a spotting scope in his pack. The plan was to move into the neighboring valley during the night, navigating by using the topo map. They both carried tools for the mission, bolt cutters, vise-grips, a hacksaw, an ax, and other odds and ends to facilitate the acquisition of the fuel, and whatever supplies they could find. It was a raiding party…

The mission was to acquire the truly needed supplies by any means necessary. It now seemed crucial to the survival of the group, at least for maintaining any reasonable comfort.

Bob had created an electric transfer pump. He built it for the purpose of acquiring fuel. It used a 12 VDC in-line lift-pump, and thirty feet of gas line. It was designed to simply be lowered into any tank, and then using the small portable batteries from the Quads, it could pump fuel out of holding tanks, and into jerry cans for transportation.

When Murphy had made his trip over the valley gap many months before, he had spotted two above ground bulk tanks by the boat launch. These Bob considered were most likely empty. They were stationed off to the side of the boat launch, but by chances theirs was also below ground tanks at the gas station. These he reasoned would still contain fuel.

Bob reasoned that no one at Misty Lake was smart enough to expect them to have fuel below the pick-up lines. These extraction lines were usually left several inches off the bottoms to prevent drawing in any water and corruption that settles there.

To the gang, the pumps would appear empty, but below ground the tanks would still may contain several hundred gallons, depending on their size. The men anticipated that the tanks would not be guarded well if at all. Using Bob’s makeshift transfer pump, they would be able to access what was left at the bottom of these tanks.

If what Murphy reported about the chaos of the Misty Lake gang was true, they would never suspect they were in any danger of losing fuel that they never knew they had in the first place, as far as they were concerned they would appear to be completely empty.

The group loaded Harlan’s old pack saddles with their gear, taking only what they needed for the mission. The men studied the maps sitting at the kitchen table that night. They carefully went over every detail, until they knew the plan inside and out. They were ready…

They would take the trail north to Bob’s Jeep, and fuel it with what they had left from the quads. Then they would drive along the gravel roads too within a mile of the Misty Lake resort, hide the Jeep under some brush, and proceed on foot to the outskirts of the resort village. There they would wait until dark, and make their move into the village undercover.

Bob had ten empty Jerry cans in all, and they were tied to the sides of the two pack animals. There was just enough room for the rider to slip their legs under the roped cans. It looked as if the horses were now being used as some strange desert camel with red cans tied all around them. The idea was they would not come back until they filled all 10 cans of fuel and topped up the jeep for summer use.

All the while, they were to keep an eye open for a small trailered fuel tank. They hoped to commandeer one for future needs and, if possible, to tow it back to the valley for long term fuel storage. They expected to find one at a cabin at Misty Lake resort and take the oil furnace tank, and use it for a storage tank by mounting it on Bob’s tiny trailer. They expected one of the quads could handle it if empty, as-long as it was no-bigger than 100 gallons in size. It would be easy enough to tow if it were empty of fuel. They would make multiple trips to fill it, using the Jerry cans and horses.

They packed a tent, and food for their trip, including plenty of ammo for the rifles. The idea was to move at night to avoid all the check stops whenever practical.

As a precaution, Bob had two large ABS pipes permanently wired under the frame of his Jeep. He used these to hide contraband weapons and ammo. They were hidden beside the trucks frame. They were attached firmly beside the frame one on either side of the drive shaft. Most check stops would likely miss the tubes, unless the guards were using search mirrors to look under the vehicles. Bob knew they used these search mirrors when looking for difficult hiding space, and sometimes the men would even lie under the vehicles using a flashlight on the big trucks. This Bob hoped would not be the case…

The next morning, he and Murphy had breakfast and prepared themselves for the mission ahead. They drank two pots of coffee and waited for Marlee and Logan. Neither man was particularly concerned about the mission yet.  Both men sat calmly, sipping their hot brew in silence.

A sudden sound of footsteps was heard on the porch. “Hello, camp,” Logan shouted at the door.

Bob, and Murphy jumped to their feet and grabbed their small day packs, and without ushering a word then greeted Logan and Marlee on the porch.

The weather had deteriorated to such a point it fell slanted in gray curtains, the animals stood still as statues, waiting under the protection of the trees by the creek. They had been packed and ready to go before sunrise.

Marlee blurted out, “Can I ride Elly?”, as she dashed toward the paint horse. The men just looked at each other, saying nothing. The occasion was solemn. Logan turned to Bob, “Are you ready?”

“Definitely,” he quickly answered back, and hurried down the steps. His reaction was very military, showing absolute confidence. He strapped his gear on the lead animal, “We best get going.”

“I hope to be back in two weeks, I expect you to meet us this time then, right where you drop us.”

Logan knew the plan well, and just nodded at Bob for his assurance.

Murphy stared blanked faced into the morning rain… he was certainly glad he wasn’t going to do this mission alone this time, but felt suddenly apprehensive. It was an unpleasant start to the day, that much was sure. He felt confident at having Bob along this time, but feared heading into Metro with all that he saw on the news. The fighting seemed to be far worse than the authorities were letting on.

Everyone climbed astride the two animals, and Bob kicked Big Tom to life. He and Logan sat atop him, and headed up the north trail.

Right away Elly, fell in behind the big mule. Marlee, turned and smiled at Murphy as she always did, “Here we go,” she said with a grin looking up at him with excitement. Murphy smiled back.

The ride was quiet, as hardly a word was spoken between the group. There was just the sway of the animals, and the rhythm of the trail measuring the pace of the riders. The group made their way up the switch backs of the high mountain pass. It was a steady climb.

Finally, they arrived at where Murphy had come over into the valley nearly a year ago. They had reached the top. Murphy glanced out over the edge. It was the spot he had fallen from, remembering that day when he first arrived almost a year ago.

He recalled his broken leg that day, and grimaced thinking about it. He leaned over the edge, and rubbed his thigh just above the old injury, and kicked at Elly to hurry her along.

The trail had begun to get wet from the torrential rains. The horses hooves slopped in the mud as they trudged along. Murphy focused on the massive tracks left ahead of him by Tom’s huge steel shoes.

The mule had no trouble pulling the small load of Bob and Murphy’s gear behind him. He had grown accustomed to hauling the travois over so many years. Tom took everything in stride it seemed, he was an amiable beast with steadfast determination.

Marlee turned to Murphy and ask, “Are you scared, Mr. Murphy?” Murphy hesitated a moment, before answering, “A little, Marlee …Who knows what we might find in town, but I’m not too worried. Bob is a trained soldier, I’m sure he won’t do anything to get us into trouble. Don’t you worry okay, we’ll be fine.” The little girl smiled back at Murphy, and graciously straightened up looking like a proper equestrian rider. She was prim and proper atop of Elly, the reins in her hand just so.

Murphy smiled down at the young girl, admiring how she had adapted to her new way of life after martial law. It’s amazing how children adapt to any environment. When stability is offered, they see no wrong in the world. Even without stability they seem to cope, knowing no difference in the world. That is the secret of mankind, we cope no matter what happens to us, or what world we are handed.

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When Bob, arrived a year ago, he had moved the fallen tree by the main road. The one used to hide the trail entrance. He drove up the trail, replacing it behind him, and made his way to the valley gap. He then drove to nearly where Murphy had spotted the white tail buck, cresting the ridge almost a year ago.

The group found Bob’s jeep well hidden off the trail. They saw the brush he had piled around it, it was covered very well behind the picket. But the brush had now died off, looking odd against the new growth. It did not blend well with the buds of spring that now began to form on the living trees nearby.

Murphy was thankful the rain had slowed to a drizzle, and he removed the wet tarp, as Marlee held the horses steady. The men unloaded the gear into the jeep, then set about starting the dormant vehicle. Bob slapped the steering wheel, and pumped the gas three times. He turned the key, and the engine unexpectedly roared to life with the first try, almost as if it had been waiting all winter for the chance to run again. Bob petted the steering wheel, “That’s my baby,” he said, and smiled to the others.

He climbed out of the Jeep, and turned to Logan, “Well thank you my friend, remember to meet us here in exactly two weeks, okay? Bring supplies in case you need to wait a day or two. Who knows what we may find, to slow us down.”

Logan shook Bob’s hand, “Not to worry, I’ll be here if it kills me.”

Logan shook Murphy’s hand next, “Good luck you two, we’ll be here.”

“Me too, I’ll be here too,” Marlee chimed in. She was already sitting on Elly’s back, ready to go.

“Let’s go Daddy,” She was keen to hit the trail, excited to be riding by herself for a change.

Logan smiled at the men, for his daughter’s naivety. They watched as the two men climbed in the Jeep and drove down the steep trail toward the dump road, and headed east toward the highway and the Misty Lake valley.

Marlee finally saw the reality of the situation as she watched them go, “Do you think they’ll be okay, daddy?” the little girl asked appearing somewhat worried.

Logan smiled at his daughter, and cheerfully said, “I’m sure they’ll be fine, young lady, now let’s get these animals back home, and get some feed in them.”

“Okay,” she kicked the horse with her tiny feet and the two headed back south trail toward their valley.

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Before it had gotten dark, the men came upon the Misty lake road. It aimed southward toward the village. Bob knew the Lake was more than ten miles ahead, and they would need to ditch the jeep at some point, and continue on foot.

The plan was to wait until dark, make their way into the resort, and observe the village from the trees. Their first stop would be the gas station, to siphon its underground tanks. When they arrived, they would cut the locks on the fill-caps, and drain whatever they could using the electric transfer pump.  Then stash the cans out of sight. They knew it would require several trips to retrieve the full cans on foot afterwards, but this was the safest way to do it undetected.

Bob’s only worry was whether the small quad batteries would hold a charge long enough to do the job.  He knew he could always recharge them using the Jeep’s alternator. He had set up some jumper cables under the hood for this job as they drove. He hoped to get twenty or thirty minutes of pumping time out of each of the ATV batteries. That should fill most of the cans that night.

The men cautiously approached the rundown gas station. They noticed a dim lamp light coming from inside the store front window of the manager’s office. Bob held up his fist, indicated to halt… then using his open hand, he indicated for Murphy to get down low. Murphy set the cans down behind some bushes. He followed behind Bob, staying low to the ground, then slowly moved forward to check out the station. They needed the blackness of the night, made their way toward the station.

Moving with purpose, they slowly made their way toward the large window. Both carefully stayed beyond the line of sight from anyone inside. Bob had taught Murphy the basics about recon work. Spending the entire evening before vigorously going over their plan. This glitch in the plan was surely not expected, yet Bob’s instincts adapted to the situation. No recon will ever go as planned, he had told Murphy, “You need to adapt to the situation, use your head, and above all else stay cool.”

They moved close to the window, and clung tight to the wall. Murphy put his hand down on some broken glass, and quickly pulled it back. Bob turned to Murphy with a concerned look, and made a downward motion with his open palm, indicating to stay low and be quiet. He commenced to move forward, then held up his fist again. Murphy stopped as Bob approached the window alone. He moved slowly like a sloth pocket. It was like watching one of those time elapsed video shots.  He slowly retrieved a signal mirror from his pocket, holding it up to the lower corner of the window. Crouched under and off to one side, he lifted it up to the glass.

He used the mirror’s reflection to observe anyone inside of the office. It allowed him a view, and did not expose himself to anyone who might looking out at that moment.

Murphy was astonished at how slowly Bob could move, it must have taken an entire minute for him to inch the mirror forward, looking up and over the window sill. Murphy noted his deliberate stealth… determined to practice the same tactic himself from now on.

How that moment shook Murphy. A wave of anxiety overtook him. Only a year before he was chained to a desk in a high-rise in down town Metro, now he was endangering his life for survival.

Bob, again moved slowly as he pulled the mirror back. He gave Murphy the sign to back away. Then turned toward him, and pointed two fingers at his own eyes, and held up a single finger, indicating he saw one person inside. He slowly swept his two fingers toward the way they had come, indicating they should move off to the bushes again. Murphy led the way back to the tree line.

When they arrived, Murphy whispered, “What do we do now?”

“I’m not sure,” Bob said. He thought about the situation for a moment. He shook his head in confusion, and shrugged. “We can wait here a bit and see if he goes to bed, or maybe leaves. I’m not even sure why he would even be here.”

The men settled in and made themselves comfortable beneath the overhanging limbs of a pine tree. They waited as time slowly crept by. Both tried to stay alert, and quietly discussed strategies, they ate jerky to keep from falling asleep. The hours went by with slow boring precision. Suddenly, the lamp dimmed inside the station. The men sat up, waiting. Nothing happened, the person did not exit the gas station. He did not move from the chair either. “What’s he doing now?” Murphy asked. “Well he must be living there,” said Bob.

They watched for another hour, then Bob motioned to Murphy that it was time to move in. “He may have gone to bed,” Bob said.

The plan was for Bob to watch the station, and the occupant, as Murphy filled cans. He was to keep an eye on the transfer pump from the trees, while the cans filled. Filling each one at a time, waiting and watching from the trees. It certainly was going to look odd to anyone with a lone can sitting in the middle of the turnaround, but not as odd as five cans would appear to be. Murphy then would return each filled can to the woods, one at a time. Retrieving them later when they were done. They planned this in case, they were spotted, and they needed to escape. This way they might get away with most of the cans. Murphy began topping the Jerry cans off when Bob gave the signal. They hoped to fill as many as they could or until the big tank was drained.

Bob’s job was to watch the store in case there was trouble from within. If the man inside spotted any movement outside, Bob was to intercept him, either by creating a diversion (and allowing Murphy to escape), or fighting off the gang as Murphy escaped with the gear. They could then return for the hidden Jerry cans in the woods later.

Murphy moved quickly, while crawling low in the shadows. Only two cans were filled when the first of the two batteries had died. The pump stopped working, and at first Murphy panic, before realizing what had happened. He was beginning to use his head for himself finally. It was time to hook up the second quad battery to the transfer pump.

Bob laid back against the flaking stucco wall of the gas station, and whispered into his throat mic, “How’s it going, Murphy.” Murphy looked up to his friend, and gave Bob the okay sign.

He continued monitoring the fuel transfer. Bob flashed back a thumbs up to Murphy, and moved toward the window of the office again. He then froze… stopped by some movement inside. He whispered to Murphy, “Get out of there, someone’s coming.”

Suddenly the door opened beside Bob, and the man from inside stepped out into the darkness. He looked about the turnaround. Apparently he did not see as Murphy’s foot darted under the cover of the pine tree. He lit a cigarette, carefully shielding the flame. The orange glow grew in his cupped hand.

Murphy watched this, and slowly crept further back into the bushes. He left the fuel can by the filler opening, he only had time to disconnect the terminal of the pump from the battery. The man hadn’t noticed Bob crouched beside him, or the can in the darkness. The man’s eyes hadn’t adjusted to the darkness yet. Bob waited motionless behind a garbage can next to the door. It was just too dark for the man to see well. The flame of the lighter had temporarily blinded him. In the man’s mind Bob was just an unfamiliar shadow next the door. A black shadow…

He drew hard on his cigarette, making the ember burn bright. He stepped away from the doorway then let the door close behind him. At that moment he noticed the Jerry can in the middle of the turnaround. Bob realized everything was just about to go sideways, and quite quickly… he stood up. The man let out a short gasp, and Bob grabbed him from behind. He held a combat knife against the man’s Carotid Artery, and whispered.

“Don’t move, don’t say anything,” he spoke quietly, “I won’t hurt you.” The frightened man stiffened, and a gradual puddle formed beneath his trembling leg. He carefully shook his head in affirmation, and tossed his cigarette in front of him to hold his hands up in surrender. The cigarette threw sparks as it hit the ground.

Bob again spoke softly to the man, “Is there anyone else inside? Just nod,” he whispered in the man’s ear again. The frightened man did what he was told and shook his head slowly side to side.

“Alright,” Bob said. “You and I are going back inside. Now I want you to move with me slowly.”

The two backed into the station. Bob pressed the call button, on his radio. “Murphy I’ve got a situation up here, check the can… how much longer are you going to be?” Murphy rushed out to check the can, lifting it up to feel its weight, “I…I don’t know… I think the tank is running dry, and this may be the last one,” he whispered back over the radio.

Bob closed the door behind the man and him. “Okay finish that one up, and head back to the truck with just two of the cans, I’ll follow you later.” “What about the other cans,” Murphy squawked back.  “I’ll grab the other cans, when I come.”

Murphy didn’t know what had happened, and asked, “What’s going on Bob, that’s not our plan, over…”

“I’ll let you know later just do what I say,” he sounded stern, and Murphy knew something serious was going on.

“Okay, but how are you going to carry the extra cans?”

“Never mind that__ just do as I say,” he sounded angry, and Murphy decided not to push him for answers.

He topped up the remaining can coiled up the transfer pump line, and headed to the tree line of the parking area. Murphy moved quick as he could.

He packed the gear in the rucksack, and gathered up two full cans, and started down the road toward the jeep. He was worried about Bob… but held his head fixed, and steady looking straight ahead as he hurried along. He was focused and strained against the weight of the cans. “Damn, I hope he’s alright.” For now all Murphy could do was move toward the jeep.

He stopped to rest several times, yet sped along the darkened trail as best he could. The shadows sometimes seemed to leap up in front of him, throwing him off with visions of crouching person’s.  He couldn’t help but see shapes in the trees. Sometimes they reached out to him. The woods had a life of their own. It was only his imagination he kept telling himself until logic told him to disregard the images.

The cans were around thirty pounds each, and he had a mile to go to the Jeep. A nagging thought kept occurring to him during his grueling march. He laughed, “Perhaps we should have parked closer.” He grumbled this to himself several times, but with good humor carried on. Murphy knew it was certainly safer to park so far away, and by the time he got to the vehicle his neck muscles were burning from the pain of carrying the heavy cans. He dropped them at the trailer, and rubbed his shoulders. He swung the cans up into the back of the Jeep trailer, and grabbed a quart water bottle, inhaling a drink. He only paused to catch his breath…

He called Bob on the radio, “All clear, are you coming this way?”

There was no answer.

Murphy repeated the transmission, “All clear, are you headed this way.” The ear piece crackled, “I can’t talk now, hang on…” His voice was soft… it went quiet as if he were whispering the words over the throat mic.

Murphy held the radio away from his face as if seeing it at it arm’s length would help him to know what was going on. He was worried things had gone totally wrong. Perhaps Bob was caught in something he couldn’t handle, and was now in trouble. He considered heading back. He would take the Jeep in case he needed to get away fast. He could drive right up and snatch Bob’s guns blazing.

He laughed at the foolish idea. He didn’t know what to do. “Damn it Bob,” he cursed. He figured that if something tragic happened he’d need to go back to the valley by himself. How would he lead the group from now on without Bob? First Harlan was gone, and now Bob…

Murphy began pacing back and forth in the dark beside the jeep. He muttered to himself, “What the hell do I do now?” He paced, glaring at the trail head in the looming darkness. “What the hell should I do, I better not call him again on the radio, he may be hiding from someone, right near him.”

Murphy reasoned that if that were true, the noise from the ear buds might tip off anyone… near enough to hear, even a faint noise might reveal Bob’s hiding place.

He decided not to take that chance. He would not call again. He would wait for Bob to contact him first. He knew that it was going to be a painful wait. The not knowing was killing him.

“What the hell Bob, what’s going on? Call me, buddy.” Murphy whispered into the blackness as he stared down the trail for any movement.

An hour went by, with still know word from Bob.  Another hour crawled by… slow, grueling, moving like that bad day drags on for a condemned man.

Murphy turned back towards the Jeep… quietly a faint crack from a branch came from the nearby bushes. It startled him, but he did not react.

He froze, then slowly reached for his rifle lying across the front seat. A blue beam of light caught him directly in the eyes. “You won’t be needed that buddy.” Murphy froze: it was Bob. Then two forms appeared from the shadows. Bob lowered the flashlight. In front of him was the man from the station. He carried two of the three Jerry cans. Murphy pulled the rifle down from the Jeep, and pointed it at the man. “It’s okay,” Bob said. “He’s catching a ride with us to Metro.”

They casually walked by Murphy and the man smiled at him, and shrugged sarcastically. Murphy stared as they walked past. The captive hefted his two cans into the jeep, and held out his hand to Murphy to shake.

“I’m Simon, you must be Murphy. I’m pleased to meet, yeah.” He then quickly scrambled into the back of the Jeep, “Let’s get the hell out of here.” The man bounced up and down, as if he were checking it for comfort.

Murphy slung the rifle over his shoulder.

“What the hell is going on here?” he asked, and turned to Bob.

Bob jumped in the driver’s seat. He turned over the engine and pulled the brake release. He looked at Murphy’s face, still enjoying his stunned look:

“You better get in, Murphy.” Murphy shook his head and quickly swung around the back of the jeep to climb in the passenger seat. Bob grinned at his friend, and stepped on the gas.

The trio sped off down the trail. Bob wheeled the Jeep hard onto the road, and headed toward Metro. He explained the situation to Murphy as they drove along the gravel road:

“Well it turns out the gang was using this poor guy here as their personal slave. So he was making a break for it. He was hiding out at the station tonight until it got dark. Then he was making a run for it.”

“It took some convincing before your friend here bought the whole story,” Simon piped up from the back seat, “those bastards never figured I’d have the guts to head out on my own, so they weren’t watching me very closely. Turns out they were wrong about me,” he leaned forward between the seats and smiled with a twinkle in his eye. “I fixed them, I sugared their truck tanks before I left, no worries about any one following us for a while.” Simon, leaned back in the Jeep seat with a satisfied grin of accomplishment.

Bob added, “I was just about to leave with him behind, when, wouldn’t you know it? Two big no neck clowns showed up, and decided to confront Simon here. He told them a long story about being sent to get boat parts for Brent, the gang leader. They listened for a while, and Simon spun such a tale they finally moved on.”

Murphy asked:

“Where the hell were you all this time Bob?” still looking astonish by it all.

“Oh, I was standing just out of sight behind the door next to Simon. Mind you I had my AR trained on the two meat heads through the wall, but they seemed satisfied with Simon’s story and moved on… and here we are.”

Simon leaned in again as they hit the main gravel road headed East toward the highway.

“Yeah that could have gone sideways really fast if they hadn’t had left, eh…” he laughed sounding a bit unhinged to Murphy. He punctuated the outrageous story by slapping Bob’s shoulder, “Holy shit, you’re one lucky son of a bitch, Bob…”

With that, Bob dropped a gear and roared the engine, as they sped away from the Misty Lake resort. The trio sped down the dump road and made their way toward the highway. They were glad to put some distance between them and the east valley gang.

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The moon had risen, and the night lit up bright and cool as the three men flew down the back road running with their lights off. It would allow them to move along the roads without easily being detected.

They drove without their headlights on, whenever they saw approaching lights they slipped into the ditch, and laid low until they passed.

With martial law being in effect, there was nearly no one on the roads. Bob feared military patrols might be waiting in the darkness along the edge of the highway. It was standard procedure to catch travelers as they passed by. He knew they would need a better plan to get to town then to just drive straight down the highway. The closer they got to the city, the more the check stops appeared ahead of them. Most were easy to make out as they were all lit up by arc lights. Their glow could be seen for several miles before the came close.

After some strategic detours around the first few check-stops, the trio were able to dodge them all together. The Jeep moved swiftly over the back roads, and detours. Murphy leaned back in his seat, he was now casually watching the stars and rising moon as if it were following the Jeep through the country side.

A great white light, shone off the hood of Bob’s Jeep. The moon lit the landscape with a magical silver light. It strobed over the interior of the vehicle, as they sped along, re-emerging in flashes behind the trees as they traveled the old country road.

They were in farm country, and Bob hoped that this would allow them to use the hidden back roads, to scoot around the many check-stops, and outposts. Each way-point would be mapped and plotted for future runs. Bob’s new outlook for survival was they need to make periodic trips to Metro for supplies.

The trio periodically stopped at intersections to plan their next move… They waited and watched quietly. Sitting in the middle of the countryside, Bob sometimes shut off the engine, to listen. There was very little danger of anyone coming along, so they enjoyed a surreal moment in the night’s silence, listening to the void above them, and enjoying the brilliant evening sky over their heads.

Simon had a backpack with him. He brought it for his escape. He reached for it, and hauled out a bottle of eighteen year old Scotch. He held it up in the moonlight, and offered a drink to his rescuers.

Bob smiled at Simon in the mirror, “Well, well, you are full of surprises.”

Simon had stolen it from his captors’ liquor cabinet …Just before he parted ways with the gang, Simon uncorked it and inhaled a luxurious whiff from the bottle, then a long pull…

“Ay that’s what I’m talking about. A wee dram Mr. Murphy?” He bumped Murphy’s arm with the bottom of the bottle waking him from his funk as he watched the heavens above him.

Murphy glanced back at Simon, who was gripping the neck of the bottle as he pointed the base of it at Murphy. The adrenaline of the evening had left the men a bit numb. He reached for the bottle, and wiped the neck with his sleeve then tipped out a good draft of the contents. He looked back at Simon surprised, and smiled knowingly.

“Oh that’s the good stuff, Simon, thank you.” he then handed it next to Bob, who without hesitating skillfully took the bottle, accepting a drink while still driving with one knee. He first held the bottle up to their new friend in the back seat, and offered a toast to their new friend, “Cheers fellas,” he tilted the bottle back, all while watching the road rise up ahead of him in the moonlit night. He squinted a wary eye around the brown glass as he drank deeply. Bob felt reckless that evening, he needed a good swig to straighten his head out after the excitement.

He knew it was going to be no mean trick to get to into Metro and to his house. There was something he wanted to pick up there, and he was determined to make it by morning. Besides the obvious, getting more fuel for the group he wanted something else. He thought it might help the residents, or so he hoped…

The moon shone bright above the jeep as it sped down the silver ribbon of road toward Metro. A long cloud of dust spun off the gravel surface. It rolled off into the ditch and out into the woods as the men flew along the dirt surface. The shadow of the jeep disappeared off into the distance.

Simon had been to town many times before during his captivity by the Misty lake gang, he knew these back ways even better than Bob did.  He could point out turns and T intersections well ahead of time, sometimes showing them ways that even the topo map did not show.  This helped the group tremendously in their moving about the back roads in the moon light.

They were able to completely avoid the main check stops, each time rerouting their mission using Simon’s guidance. They moved about far back in the hills beyond the outpost, and using Simon’s directions, and the obscure logging trails they managed to avoid all of them. Bob stopped the Jeep near the outskirts of town, the glanced over the city from a hill overlooking the gloomy valley below them. Much of the city was in darkness. All street lights and traffic lights were out. Just the glow of scattered fires lit the once vibrant city.

The trio looked in awe at the ruined city, “Well this is it, let’s get‘er done boys,” Bob hit the accelerator and they sped down the hill toward the town…

To be continued…

The post What If Martial Law Were Declared in America Part Eight: Out of Options appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

Homemade MREs for Your Stockpile

MREs, or Meals Ready to Eat, originated from the military. In fact, the military has a whole department in charge of the development of these unique meals. MREs are scientifically designed to last up to 5 years.

Crafted to be immediately edible, they provide an average of 1250 calories. The composition breakdown is 13 percent protein, 51 percent carbohydrates, and 36 percent fat.  One- third of the military recommended daily allowance of vitamins and minerals, so 3 MREs are a full days’ worth.

  • MREs are convenient to have on hand when a disaster strikes. Some of the reasons you should have MREs on hand are:
  • MREs are easy to move. Most preppers have canned foods, but they are bulky and heavy and are not so easy to just grab on the way out. Some require special preparation to eat them and, of course, you will need a can opener. If you’re traveling on foot, you will need to limit the number of cans of food that you can take with you.
  • They do not use up a lot of space and are lightweight. They can be easily put into your backpack, car, emergency kit, or home. Plus, they have an excellent shelf life.

If you want to make your own MREs, it can be satisfying, more nutritious, and much cheaper.

Keep these in mind:

  • Purchased MREs can be quite expensive. Especially if you have to pay for shipping.
  • They are also high in fat content. They were originally designed to meet the needs of someone doing heavy physical activity. When you combine that with the low water content, you are destined to get constipated.
  • They are also low in fiber and again. Another reason they lead to constipation. They have been nicknamed by some as “Meals Requiring Enemas”, and “Massive Rectal Expulsions.”
  • The sodium content in MREs can be as high as 3800 mg. That is 3x more than the average person should consume. This would make you pretty thirsty, too.
  • Because they are high in calories, high in fat, high in sodium, low in fiber and low in water, they can play havoc with the good bacteria in your stomach. Thus, causing extreme gastrointestinal distress which is not ideal when you are stuck in a sedentary situation.
  • Most importantly to some would be taste. They just don’t taste good. If you have ever eaten several of them, you’ll find they taste the same. Troops have been known to drown the entire meal in hot sauce just to get over the taste of it. There also is not much of a selection when it comes to purchased MREs.

Homemade MREs are the best for you in the long run and so much more cost effective. You won’t need to worry about the “not for human consumption-may cause diarrhea” mentality. You also won’t have to worry about packing inedible stuff such as a heater, matches, etc.

To begin, you’ll want to look into your options for packing your MREs.

Though Mylar bags are far better than plastic bags, they are also much more expensive. Though they offer a 10-12-year shelf life, they require oxygen absorbers, and high temperatures to seal the bag.

A vacuum sealer is the best way to go when creating your own MRE. Most MREs only have a shelf life of 1-3 years, depending on the contents of it.

Check out this video on vacuum packing sealing your own meals:

So what do you put in your MRE?

When making your own MREs, you will want to consider anything that can be eaten raw or cooked with water.

A complete MRE should include:

  • Utensils
  • Entrée
  • Seasoning
  • Crackers
  • Side dish
  • Spreads
  • Dessert
  • Candy
  • Dried Fruit
  • Dessert

When making your own MREs, you will want to consider anything that can be eaten raw or cooked with water.

Start looking for sales and stock up on:

  •    Bagged and canned meats: spam, tuna, chicken, salmon, sardines
  •    Ramen Noodles
  •    Instant rice and potatoes
  •    Instant oatmeal
  •    Instant drinks: coffee, tea, crystal light, Gatorade packets, Kool Aide, Hawaiian Punch
  •    Tea bags
  •    Bouillon cubes
  •    Packaged snack crackers: cheese, peanut butter, whole wheat
  •    Packets from restaurants such as pepper flakes, parmesan cheese, lemon juice, etc.
  •    Packets of sugar, sweeteners, etc.
  •    Granola bars
  •    Candy bars
  •    Power bars
  •    Dried fruit

Be sure to double check your stockpiles for the supplies needed to make the MREs, and arrange the type of meals you want to create. If you don’t have these in your stockpile; then start planning to add items to your stockpile to make the homemade MREs.

One example of an MRE you could put together yourself is:

Breakfast:

  • Two packs of instant oatmeal, two servings of dried fruit, and 14 oz. of water, single serve packet of coffee, spoon
  • Vacuum pack the combination without the water. You can tape the water to the outside of the bag.

Another example would be:

  1.    Canned chicken
  2.    Packet of instant chicken flavored
  3.    Packet of instant rice (such as Knorr flavored rice)
  4.    Packet of instant mashed potatoes -roasted garlic
  5.    Packet of Ramen noodles
  6.    1 tea bag
  7.    3 packets of sugar or Splenda
  8.    Packets of salt and pepper or your own seasonings (recipe below)
  9.    Packet of crackers with peanut butter or cheese
  10.  1 granola bar/energy bar
  11.  1 packet of taster’s choice instant coffee

Another packet might include:

  1.    1 vacuum sealed packet of Star-Kist Chunk Light Tuna
  2.    Ramen Noodles
  3.    Betty Crocker cheesy potatoes
  4.    Packet of flavored rice (such as Knorr)
  5.    Packet of peanuts-snack sized
  6.    Packet of Nescafe instant coffee with packets of cream and sugar
  7.    Splenda
  8.    1 bouillon cube
  9.    Packet of dried fruit
  10.  Packet of crushed red pepper or homemade seasoning packet

Try to make the meals as appetizing as possible while hitting all the major components noted in the list above. You don’t want the same boring meal every time, not to mention that members of your group may have different likes and dislikes.

Now, break out the vacuum sealer. Wrap your homemade MREs into nice little packs and seal away.

Adding your own components to your MRE is a great way to go. Try homemade preserved foods.

When you preserve your own food, you know exactly what is in it. No allergen issues, genetically modified ingredients, excess salt or sugar. Home preserving is a great way to cost- effectively make your own MREs.

Dehydrating Foods

Dehydrating foods makes them light and easy to store. Some can be dehydrated with the intention of rehydrating them later.

Dehydration is one of the oldest and best methods of food preservation. Dehydrating inhibits the growth of bacteria, mold, and yeasts by removing the water. Foods such as beef, fish, fruit, vegetables and garlic and onions are the many different types of foods that can be dehydrated.

If you have a food dehydrator, just follow the instructions. Check the web for recipes and ideas.

If you don’t have a dehydrator, use your oven. Turn the oven on to the lowest setting and cut your fruit and/or vegetable into ¼ inch slices. Place the sliced up vegetables or fruits in the oven on a lined sheet pan for about 6 to 8 hours or as long as they need.

Try your toaster oven. Toaster ovens vary so keep your eye on it. Turn the temperature of the toaster oven on its lowest setting and keep the door propped open a bit to avoid any condensation. This is one of the best ways to make beef jerky.

Sun drying is another option. This is especially good for tomatoes and herbs. Slice the fruit and/or vegetable and place them on an aluminum lined baking sheet. Leave the fruit or vegetables in a sunny spot for a few days.

For herbs, you can easily tie a string around them and hang them upside down. You can put the herbs in the sun or just let them hang out in your kitchen until they are dried. Just make sure no steam from the sink’s faucet or boiling pots on the stove reaches the drying herbs. This can caused mildew or mold on the herbs.

The most common fruits that are dehydrated include apples, apricots, berries, bananas, cherries, figs, grapes, plums, pineapple, pears, peaches, and melons.

The most common vegetables are tomatoes, carrots, beets, greens, beans, squash, onions, peas, celery, corn, pumpkin, and broccoli. These should be blanched briefly before the dehydrating process to limit the risk of food-borne illnesses. Since they will be crispy, they make great chips or a topper for your soups.

Here are some good recipes for your homemade MREs. Pick and choose according to your tastes and needs.

Southwest Seasonings

Ingredients:

4 Tbsps. chili powder

4 Tbsps. paprika

4 tsp ground cumin

2 Tblsp ground coriander

2 Tblsp dried oregano

2 tsp cayenne pepper

2 Tblsp garlic powder

2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

2 Tblsp salt

2 tsp black pepper

Directions:

Throw all the ingredients in a bag; then shake it up.

Store it in a vacuum-sealed bag.

Homemade Beef Jerky

Ingredients:

8 lbs. Flank steaks or 8 lbs. London Broil beef

4 tsp black pepper

4 tsp chili powder

4 tsp garlic powder

4 tsp cayenne pepper, add more to adjust to your taste

4 tsp onion powder

2 tsp liquid smoke

1/2 c. soy sauce or you can use a 1/2 c., soy sauce, low sodium

1 c. Worcestershire sauce

1 c. red hot sauce

Directions:

Trim off all the fat and cut the meat into 3-4-inch size strips.

Try to make each piece about 1/2 inch thick. (Partially frozen meat will be the easiest to cut.)

Pound out the meat lightly.

In a bowl mix the remaining ingredients; then mix or rub it on the meat.

Cover.  Next refrigerate for a minimum of 8 hours or overnight.

Line the cookie sheet with tin foil and place the strips on the sheet without overlapping.

Set the oven to the low temperature (150-175°F).

Bake for about six hours; then turn the meat after 3 hours of cooking and continue to cook.

Jerky is done when meat is dried out.

Hardtack

Hardtack (aka cabin bread) is a basic type of cracker that is inexpensive and long lasting.

Ingredients:

4-5 c. of flour

2 c. of water

3 tbsp. of salt or herbs (see above seasoning recipe)

Directions:

Mix all the ingredients together and message until it comes to a smooth consistency. Flatten it out on a table or flat surface keeping a half inch or less in height. Cut into squares that are approximately 3 inches by 3 inches. Poke each square with a fork several times. If you have an oven; then bake for about 30 minutes or until crispy. If you don’t have access to an oven, wrap each square in aluminum and place it near the hottest part of the fire. Check periodically for the desired doneness. On the fire should take about 30 minutes also.

Trail Mix

Ingredients:

2 c. almonds-raw

1 c. dried apricot chopped

2 c. sunflower seeds -raw

2 c. raisins or dried cranberries

1/2 c. flaked coconut (optional)

1/2 c. chocolate or 1/4 c. carob chips (optional)

Directions:

Pour everything into a large container, cover and shake!

Store it in a vacuum-sealed bag

Spam and Pea Ramen

Ingredients:

Spam-diced

1-2 packs of Ramen Noodles

½ of peas – dried, canned, or vacuum sealed

Parmesan Cheese

Red Pepper Flakes

Directions:

Bring a saucepot of water to a full rolling boil. Add the noodles to the pot of water. If the peas are dehydrated, add them as well. Once the noodles are done, add in the Spam, parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes and peas if you have not already added them.

Sweet and Spicy Tuna and Rice

Ingredients:

1 5 oz. package of Sweet & Spicy flavored tuna

1 package of instant rice

½ c. of vegetables – canned, dehydrated or vacuum sealed

Directions:

Cook the rice according to directions. If you are using dehydrated vegetables, make sure to add them while cooking the rice. When rice is done, stir in the tuna and vegetables if you have not already added them.

Cocoa Mix with Cinnamon and Nutmeg

Ingredients:

½ c. of powdered milk

3 tbsp. of cocoa powder

2 packets of non-dairy creamer

3 packets of sugar

½ tsp. of cinnamon

½ tsp. of nutmeg

Directions:

For convenience, combine all ingredients and pack in a vacuum-sealed bag for storage. You can use Ziploc bags if not storing for a long period of time.

Mix 2 tbsp. of the mix with a c. of hot water.

Add a packet of coffee if you desire.

Cooking Methods

Imagine if you did suddenly find yourself with no modern appliances. No electricity and no gas which translates to no oven, toaster oven, or microwave. Even if you do have a generator, it won’t last forever and who knows how long it will take for everything to come back up if it ever does.

The fact that you have a great supply of food is not enough. You also need to have a plan to handle the everyday processes as well such as cooking.

One item every prepper and homeowner should own is the traditional Dutch oven. It is a heavy iron kettle with a tight-fitting lid perfect for cooking meats, soups, bread, entrees and even desserts. The some of the lids have a ridge so as to hold the hot coals on top of it. The Dutch Ovens come in small, medium and large sizes with the average sized kettle being about 12 inches in diameter and holds about 6 quarts.

There are many purchasable options for cooking with no power such as propane and gas stoves, solar stoves, and rocket stoves.

Check online for stoves such as the Kelly Kettle, Solo Stove, and the Volcano Collapsible Cook Stove.

We touched on some of the basic information needed for homemade MREs, and there is still so much more out there to be addressed. Share your recipes and ideas below.

The post Homemade MREs for Your Stockpile appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

How to Protect Farm Animals from Extreme Heat

Your livestock are a huge investment of money and time, which is why protecting them during extreme temperature fluctuations, is important. As much work as it may be, ensuring that your animals don’t freeze in the winter or overheat in the summer is beneficial for you. In the long run, your animals will be healthier and won’t be at risk of becoming ill or even dying because of cold or warm weather.

In cases of extreme heat, your livestock are vulnerable to heat-related illnesses, reduced production (milk, eggs, etc.), and even death if they are not cared for properly. In some ways, the principles of caring for your animals in heat are like those of caring for your animals in extreme cold. First, you need to make sure that all their basic needs are provided for.

Food and Water: How Much, and How to Give It

Food

Here is a basic chart showing how much food common farm animals need to survive normally.

Cattle Around 2.5-3% of body weight in dry matter
Sheep Around 1.5-2.2% of body weight in dry matter
Pigs Around 4-5% of body weight in dry matter
Horses Around 2.5-3% of body weight in dry matter
Goats Around 5% of body weight in dry matter
Chickens About 0.25 pounds of feed per day per chicken

The biggest thing to note is that this is food intake in dry matter. Because most animal feed will contain some kind of moisture (around 10% is a safe assumption), you’ll need to factor that in when calculating how much to feed your own livestock.

The amount of feed should not really increase during extreme heat, but you should pay attention if you have any livestock whose appetite seems to decrease. This can be a sign of heat stress (which we will talk more about later).

Unfortunately, digestion of feed causes animals to produce body heat, so if anything is changed about your animals’ feeding routine, it should be the quality of feed used. This ensures that your animals are still receiving all the nutrients they need while also minimizing the amount of body heat they produce.

You should also change the time of day that you feed your livestock. They should not be fed when temperatures are at their highest. It’s best to do it early in the morning or in the evening, when it’s cooler outside.

Extreme heat will also cause your feed to spoil faster, so whenever possible, make sure that your stockfeed is covered and protected from the rays of the sun.

Water

In extreme heat especially, your animals are going to require a lot more water. In fact, they may require up to two times more water than usual.

You will need to ensure that your farm animals have access to a source of cool, clean water at all times. Because your animals will be exposed to so much heat, you may find that you need to acquire additional water sources for them in order to keep up with demand. And unless you want to be checking on these water sources all day, it’s probably best if you have some sort of automated delivery system.

cow drinking water

Keeping this water cool is also important. If you can, shade any water storage tanks or pipes that you have above ground so that the water in them does not become too hot. You can also shade troughs so that your water does not evaporate away too quickly (which would be quite a waste if you don’t have a large supply of water when SHTF) and so that your animals are not drinking water that’s been sitting in the sun for hours.

One thing to help with water temperatures, if you can’t shade your animals’ trough, is a concrete water trough. The concrete will stay cool enough that the water won’t overheat too quickly, and is also solid enough that your animals will have a hard time tipping it over. Regardless of what your troughs are made of, however, ensuring that they are fixed to the ground well enough not to be toppled over and safe enough that they do not injure your livestock.

Another thing to keep in mind is that your animals will be near this water source often, so you will need to either make sure that it is large enough to be accessible to all of them, or that you have your water sources spaced out enough so that any given animal can get water whenever they need it. Not only does it keep access open for all of your livestock, it also ensures that they do not crowd too much in one space, which can contribute to overheating. Be sure to regularly maintain your pipes, troughs, and other equipment so that it does not break down at a crucial time.

Finally, your water sources need to be close to your animals so that they do not have to walk too much in the heat. If at all possible, you should make efforts to familiarize your animals with the location of their water before extreme heat strikes.

Electrolytes

While it may seem a little backwards, livestock like cattle, horses, goats, and sheep should be given a salt block alongside their feed, or in a separate bucket, during extreme heat. As humans, we generally think salt makes us thirsty, so having less of it when we’re hot would make more sense, right? Unfortunately, this is not the case for livestock.

These kinds of livestock do not generally get as much salt in their diet as humans do; therefore it is usually necessary to supplement their diet with minerals and salt. In extreme heat, it is important to supplement your animals’ diet with salt because they will sweat out a great deal of it. Just like in humans, this can cause a variety of health problems.

Most people offer their animals a salt block free choice so that the animals can supplement as needed. You should be sure that this is only sodium chloride (white salt), because livestock like sheep can be sensitive to trace amounts of other minerals.

cow in the shade

Keeping Your Animals in the Shade

As often as possible, you should strive to keep your animals in a shady, well-ventilated area during extreme heat. This may involve installing windows, fans, or other ventilation systems to keep your buildings cool. Some people may even run cool water across the roofs of their buildings to provide cooling.

Of course, some people even have fully air-conditioned buildings for their animals. However, as important as air conditioning your buildings may be, it can be tough to power such systems, especially in the event of a disaster. It’s a good idea to find some natural ways to keep your animals cool in case you experience a power outage and can’t run fans or air conditioning.

Again, you could always install windows to improve ventilation, but there are other ways to keep the temperature down inside as well. If you have the space for it, you should make sure that your animals are not overcrowding any one area (indoors or outdoors), because this will raise their body temperature. You might consider building earth mounds to prevent this.

You can also construct your shelters in a way to reduce how hot the inside becomes. For example, aluminum or galvanized steel (steel coated in a layer of zinc to prevent rust) works well for the roof of a shelter because it reflects the rays of the sun. You could even plant trees to provide shade with a canopy of leaves (which will absorb a great deal of heat).

However the shelter is built, it should allow wind to pass through without difficulty, which will help immensely in keeping your animals cool. It also needs to be big enough so that animals can lie down, which will preserve their energy and help them cool down.

A good sign that you need something bigger is overcrowding. In fact, you may have to divide your livestock into smaller, more manageable groups so that you can ensure that every animal has access to water and that none of your animals are overcrowding an area.

Finally, you’ll want to take measures to decrease the presence of biting insects in warm weather. Flies and mosquitoes are more active in the heat, so try to make sure that you avoid long-term standing water, excessive manure or mud buildup, and an overabundance of weeds and brush. Animals might move around more trying to avoid these insects, which causes extra overheating.

Handling

This piece is pretty simple, but very important. Your livestock should not be over handled in extreme heat, because working them will cause them to produce body heat. If it is absolutely necessary to handle or transport your animals, strive to do so in the early morning or evening.

Overhandling your animals while it is hot outside can cause significant losses to their production. If you’re relying on your cattle for milk, your chickens for eggs, and more, then making sure to reduce how often you handle your animals in the heat is vitally important.

After handling your animals, you can help reduce their body temperature by spraying or sprinkling them with water. In fact, sprinklers can be a key way to reduce the body temperature of your animals during heat. You can even create small pools of water for your animals to stand in, which also helps keep them cool.

Heat Stress and Sunburn

At all times during periods of very hot weather, you should be looking for signs of heat stress, which can include: loss of appetite, lethargy or unresponsiveness, increased respiration or panting, increased water intake, increased salivation, lack of coordination, increased urination, open-mouthed breathing, and overcrowding. Animals can even become unconscious if the heat stress is high enough.

If your animal is heat stressed, you should move them to the shade or give them shade where they are. Provide water for them to drink in small amounts. You can then sprinkle them with water to help cool them down, or lay a wet towel over them for a similar effect (except for chickens).

If you have young livestock, livestock with darker fur, or livestock with any history of respiratory illness, they may be more susceptible to heat stress. Your animals are also susceptible to sunburn, especially animals with any pink skin or sheep that have just been shorn. Try to keep them in the shade as often as possible to prevent this.

Some Notes on Specific Animals

In addition to the general guidelines for keeping your livestock cool in extreme heat, there are also some species-specific guidelines that you should take note of.

  • Cattle – Because they are such large animals, you will want to make sure that they move as little as possible to avoid them generating too much body heat. They should not have to go far to be milked, fed, and watered, and should be allowed to take their time, especially, drinking water. You will also want to make sure they don’t overcrowd one area. Cattle are prone to increased respiration when heat stressed, so if any of your cattle are breathing especially fast, you should try to cool them down. This can be done with sprinklers, allowing them to stand in water, or putting a wet towel over them (they will need to be wet to the skin for these methods to work well). Milk production can decrease significantly if appropriate precautions are not taken.
  • SheepWhile you certainly do not want your sheep coated in a thick layer of wool for hot weather, you also don’t want their skin to be too exposed to the damaging rays of the sun. This is why most farmers shear their sheep in the spring – by summertime, there is enough wool to prevent sunburn, which helps keep the sheep cool.
  • Pigs – Unlike other livestock, pigs are unable to sweat, which is why they are much more prone to heat stress and sunburn than other animals. During extreme heat, you should limit severely how often your pigs are exposed to the sun, and make sure to provide other ways that they can keep cool.  One way to do this is with a mud hole, which has the dual-effect of allowing your pigs to roll around in something cool, and coating their skin with a layer of dirt to help prevent sunburn. You will have to take care to control the insects, but this is the best way to help your pigs stay healthy in extreme weather. You can also reduce their feed intake to try to prevent too much of an increase in body heat, but you’ll need to make sure they still get the nutrients they need.
  • Chickens Chickens should not be wet down like other livestock (at least not in the same way), which makes cooling them a bit trickier. Not only that, but your chickens will likely spend a lot of time in nest boxes, which can become heat traps.

Perhaps the best way to care for your chickens is to make sure that their coop remains cool inside, whether that be by foggers, ventilation, or some other system. They should have enough space so that they do not overcrowd, and their nest boxes should be roomy enough that heat is not trapped in one area.

  • Horses – As useful as your horses may be for work, you should not exercise them too often so that they do not overheat. If you have to work them, do so during the cooler hours, and wet them down after to reduce their body temperature again. Just make sure that there’s not excess water on their coat when you are done, as the water can act as an insulator and heat them up again.

Keeping your animals cool in extreme heat is by no means easy, but it is necessary for the health of your animals. In a SHTF situation, they may be extremely important (and difficult to replace) sources of food, so ensuring that they live healthy lives is directly beneficial to you.

Above all, pay attention to what your animals are telling you. If they’re showing signs of heat stress, you should take action immediately to reduce their body temperature. If not, be sure to maintain your facilities and equipment so that heat stress does not become a problem in the future.

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How to find the Right Self-Defense Class for Preppers

As preppers we are always looking for ways to better our chances of survival, but one aspect that is severely overlooked is self-defense. There are many courses directed at the self-defense craze and some of them are even ‘tailored’ for the preppers. Some of these classes are scams, while others are a fountain of practical knowledge that can help you in your journey prepping.

Finding the right self-defense class can be daunting at first. But, within this article, you will find the questions you should ask yourself, and the questions you need to ask your potential instructor. Following these guidelines and questions will help you in your journey in finding the best martial arts that suits you, and give you the confidence to find the gym and instructor that will help you learn how to defend yourself.

Where do you start in your search?

When you dive into the world that is martial arts, you will quickly learn that there are as many styles and ‘sub-styles’ as there are languages in the world. All styles have their merits – albeit some less so than others – and they all have disadvantages as well. Just like languages, they are all an expression of who you are and finding the one that best suits your needs and desires will benefit you considerably compared to one that you may not be sure of, or one that you are not even interested in.

So you need to ask yourself some questions before you even begin your search. Do you wish to be more offensive in your approach? Or do you prefer to be defensive and counter your opponent? Some styles focus on purely defensive reactions and others that will focus primarily on striking and finishing your opponent quickly. Starting with these questions will help you to narrow down your list of potential martial art styles.

A well-rounded fighter will understand both of these aspects – offense and defense – and a lot of martial art styles incorporate them into their curriculum. Assuming you are new to martial arts, you will want to focus on defensive techniques first, and most martial arts concentrate on this in the beginning. Think about boxers and how the coach would always tell them, “Keep your hands up!” A strong defense is fundamental to a good fighter.

The next question you must ask yourself is how do you prefer to fight? Do you want to learn how to submit someone without throwing a punch? Or do you prefer to throw kicks? Maybe you are traditional in the sense that throwing punches would be the best way for you to learn how to defend yourself. This is crucial in choosing what will work best for you as joining a Taekwondo class to learn how to throw a punch would be detrimental to your progress as the style focuses more on powerful kicks.(It’s important to note that many methods will incorporate at least two of these fundamentals.)

Knowing how you wish to fight is just as important as knowing if you want to be reactive and defensive, or if you want to focus on being an offensive fighter.

The last thing you need to address before your search is your budget. MANY gyms will have eye gouging prices while others are very affordable. Set your budget and try to stick with it as much as possible. With time and effort, you may find the exact gym and instructor you were looking for at the price you set. Or you might jump into a class that is overpriced and not worth your time. Patience is your friend when finding the right place.

Defensive Fighting Styles

Labeling a martial arts defensive can raise some doubts in your mind, but those doubts are quickly dismissed when you see how effective some of these styles can be. The following styles although considered defensive or reactionary techniques can be just as dangerous as any of the offensive styles listed later in this article.

Krav Maga

Krav Maga is listed first because of the potential for preppers to learn how to deal with real life instances that anyone might face. Developed by the Israeli Defense Forces, this martial arts has gained a lot of popularity due to its effectiveness is disabling an opponent quickly. It combines Boxing, Wrestling, Judo, Jujitsu, and Aikido to deal with real life situations that you would face.

It focuses on countering those real life situations in such a devastating way that the fight could end in a matter of seconds. This is primarily due to countering an attack and exposing weak or sensitive areas to strikes or putting your opponent in a very uncomfortable or vulnerable position.

A black belt in Krav Maga may be the scariest thing to encounter or get on one’s bad side. They really do aim for all the soft spots with precision.

 

jiu jitsu

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Developed by the Gracie family from Brazil during their time spent in Japan learning Kodokan judo; this style focuses solely on ground fighting and has coined the term, “Human Chess.” It has become a need-to-know in the mixed martial arts scene when it became evident in the UFC competition that not knowing how to fight on the ground left you completely vulnerable to those that did.

BJJ does not practice striking in any traditional way, and the only strikes you regularly see from practitioners are strikes to open up an opening to take the opponent to the ground, or while on the ground, strikes to open them up for a submission or to gain a dominant position.

You learn many ways to take your opponent to the ground where you would have an advantage and then proceed to find the best way to end the fight, whether it be a joint lock, choke or submission. If you have the chance to “roll” with someone who has practiced BJJ, take the opportunity and prepare to tap out. It’s a humbling experience.

 

aikido

Aikido

Developed in Japan and meaning “The Way of Harmonious Spirit,” this fighting style focuses on entering the attacking space and using your opponent’s moment against them to either toss them or apply a joint lock. One of the fundamentals to Aikido is the well-being of the attacker, and many gyms focus on non-violence.

This is one of those martial arts that is best used in conjunction with another style; it is still a good style in controlling your opponent and keeping you safe. That is why Aikido elements are found in many other martial art styles.

Offensive Fighting Styles

If you have decided to take a more aggressive approach, you have many options at your disposal. Some will be more dedicated to striking, while others will be more devoted to kicks. Either way, those listed within this section are fighting styles oriented around striking hard and fast.

Taekwondo

This martial arts style was developed in Korea in the 1940s. It is a mix of traditional Korean martial arts, Japanese karate, and elements of Chinese martial arts. Taekwondo focuses primarily on kicking techniques that are generally aimed for the head.

This style can be devastating due to the amount of force one can generate from a kick, and it’s not uncommon to see one kick knockouts in Taekwondo tournaments even though they wear protective gear.

To master this style you need to be in excellent shape as a lot of the advanced kicks require spinning and jumping to generate more force in the kick.

 

boxing

Boxing

The polar opposite to Taekwondo and one most are familiar with; Boxing has been around in some form ever since humans began fighting. Part of the Olympic games of the ancient Greece, it has become the staple for many in regards to self-defense.

It is focused solely on throwing combinations of punches while moving your head to avoid punches and keeping your fist up close to the face for protection as well.

If you are thinking about boxing, you shouldn’t have a problem finding a gym and trainer. The boxing gym is notorious for throwing amateurs against more seasoned boxers so be aware of this. Sparring someone better than you is how you get better. Just don’t allow it to devolve into bullying.

 

Muay Thai

Muay Thai

Muay Thai is a blend of boxing, clinching, knees, elbows, and kicks. Because they use the fists, elbows, knees, and shins, it is called “The Art of Eight Limbs.” This martial arts is truly terrifying when you see a professional match.

Striking with the shins to the knees can cause dislocation and swelling that will cripple an opponent quickly. While the elbow being one of the stronger bones in your body can cause havoc when connecting anywhere to the head.

The most famous technique from this style is undoubtedly the Muay Thai clinch. This clinch is a doubled handed hold to the back of the opponent’s head giving you leverage to land devastating knees to the face.

This fighting style is one of the most brutal and efficient martial arts when it comes to striking.

What to ask your potential instructor

You have decided on a fighting style, found a gym, and now it’s time to meet the instructor/s. What should you ask them?

If it hasn’t been explained already, you will want to ask about the price for classes, and you need to find out the demographic of the class. This means finding out how many beginner and advanced students are in the class.

You will want to find a class that has a healthy amount of beginners and a few advanced students. Most gyms do this, but if you find a class with too many advanced students see if you can find another class with the same instructor that meets these needs.

Having a few advanced students helps the instructor with the beginner students, but too many usually means that you will be learning advanced techniques that are hard to perform or learn, or worse, hold back a class from learning because you need extra instructions.

The next thing you want to ask your potential instructor about is sparring. How do they usually go about sparring? Do you wear protective gear? Do you referee sparring matches? What are the rules to sparring?

Knowing these things before joining a gym can save you a headache. Literally. Some gyms are vicious about sparring, while others are more practical and have protocols in place for sparring.

The last question you definitely want to ask your potential instructor is their credentials. How long have they been practicing this form? How long have they been teaching? Most instructors will also allow you to sit in during class to see how the class goes. If you get a chance to do this, it is the best way to understand what kind of instructor you are getting and what kind of class they give.

Any other questions that you feel are relevant you shouldn’t hesitate to ask before making an investment into their gym. But, these questions are a must ask for all instructors to ensure your safety and your wallet.

Final Thoughts

One martial art style that was overlooked – on purpose – was Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). This one, like some others listed in this article, is a mix of multiple styles and are usually capable of developing a more rounded fighter. If you have a MMA, Krav Maga, or Muay Thai gym near you; it’s encouraged to visit these first due to the fact that you can become a more well-rounded fighter.

Whatever style you prefer, they all have their benefits, and they all are dangerous with someone seasoned in the practice. Many of these listed seemed to be tailor made for preppers, while others could be laughed at first glance. All of the styles listed have practical applications that can help you become more prepared for what the future may bring. So use this article as a guide to find out what you prefer and find the instructor that works best for you.

The post How to find the Right Self-Defense Class for Preppers appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

Why We Should All Have a Geiger Counter

Ahh, memories…

I remember back in the day at school we used to have emergency disaster drills. We were all marched out into the hallway and lined up against the wall. We were then instructed to sit down facing the wall, put our heads between our knees and our hands over our heads.

I guess this was so our mouths would be closer to our butts so we could kiss them goodbye when the nukes hit. That’s what the drills were for, during the cold war era when I was in school we used to practice disaster drills for nuclear war. I’m not quite sure what good lining up in the hall would do us, other than keeping us all calm before we became ash.

Here is a civil defense video from the 1950’s, a couple decades before my grade school memories of the hallway, but the same ideology. Duck, and cover, useless really in the event of an actual atomic bomb explosion, but this is really what they told us to do.

Later, when I was a teenager, the Mad Max movies with Mel Gibson came out. I remember the third installment, “Beyond Thunderdome”, Max (Mel) came to a dirty “city” called “Bartertown” and a grungy looking guy offered him some water. Max whipped out the ol’ Geiger counter and it clicked wildly, alerting Max to its radioactivity.

The importance of clean drinking water

In times of distress water is always a valuable commodity. Being able to provide water for yourself and your loved ones will be a vital part of your survival. One way to provide safe drinking water will be by knowing that it isn’t radioactive. You can’t see radiation, you can’t taste it, and you can’t feel it. You won’t know it was in the water until you start having symptoms of radiation poisoning.

Symptoms of radiation poisoning

  • Mouth ulcers
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Hair loss
  • Spontaneous bleeding
  • The sloughing of your skin (it falls off)
  • Severe fatigue
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dizziness and disorientation

The onset and severity of symptoms depend on the type and level of exposure. Treatment is possible for many types of exposure to radiation, but the availability of medications in SHTF/TEOTWAWKI situations will be unlikely. You can stockpile these along with your other medications and medical supplies as well.

However, having them, and knowing how to use them are two entirely different things. As with any other subject, becoming aware of it is the first step. That’s what this article is for, to make you aware. The next step is to study and research, educate yourself as you would with any other subject.

Medications for treating radiation poisoning

  • Potassium Iodide (Thyroshield Iosat): prevents further buildup of radiation in the thyroid.
  • Prussian blue (Radiogardase): a dye that radioactive particles attach to and can then is excreted in feces.
  • Diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid (DTPA): binds to metals which can then be passed in urine.

Changing times

Since the late 1980’s ideology such as this faded away along with the Berlin wall and the former Soviet Union. The 1990’s and the early 2000’s saw a lack of concern for any event like this occurring. Unfortunately, this type of thing has become even more of a possibility today due to rampant worldwide terrorism, lost Soviet era nukes, and a crazy, pudgy little dictator in North Korea.

As preppers, we all try to be prepared for just about anything that might cause our society to change and leave us to our own means. However, with concerns such as these, what are we to do? One thing I always wanted, but never got, is a Geiger counter.

As recently as a mere decade ago a military surplus Geiger counter could cost as much as 400-500 dollars. The price of such devices has dropped considerably since then due to advancements in smart phone technology. This drop in price for the device, along with modern technologies, have made Geiger counters more accessible today than ever before.

geiger counter

Get a Geiger counter

You can still buy a surplus Geiger counter, pretty cheap these days too actually. You can also buy a pocket Geiger counter from good ol’ Waldo’s world of Chinese imports for about $175. Of course Amazon has them too for the same price or less. You can also buy a small device about the size of your pinky that plugs into your smart phone for about $40, and with the use of an APP you have a Geiger counter. Although, I am not sure if that method will still work if the phones are all dead due to the satellites and/or towers all being down.

I assumed that you all know what a Geiger counter is, but I shouldn’t assume, you know the old saying about when you assume. Well, at least I assume that you know it. A Geiger counter is a small, handheld device that measures ionizing radiation like gamma rays, alpha particles, and beta particles.

I’m not going to try to give a physics lesson about what those are; the fact is I don’t really know myself. I just know that it is radiation, and radiation is bad. I also know that a Geiger counter measures levels of radiation, and that we may need to be able to do that for ourselves in one of the TEOTWAWKI/SHTF scenarios.

Fallout from attack or disaster is still fallout

It doesn’t matter where the radiation comes from, whether North Korea succeeds in nuking America like it wants to, or another nuclear disaster like Fukushima happens. It could be from a terror cell that manages to get their hands on some radioactive material, and then build a dirty bomb to set off in some unfortunate city somewhere in the world.

Here is a video from the 1950’s about surviving fallout. Back then they recommended everyone have a fallout shelter in their backyard. That ideology lasted through the 1960’s but faded in the 1970’s. I imagine they realized the futility of it with a world war where 1000’s of nukes went off compared to the earlier days when there were only a few.

Beyond mushroom clouds

The fact remains that there are scenarios that could cause our food and water supplies (or even the air), to become contaminated with radiation. In case this was to happen, what would you do? Getting a Geiger counter to put up with your other supplies is a start, but what then?

Just having a Geiger counter telling you something is “hot” (radioactive) isn’t enough. We also need methods of cleaning the radiation from the water to make it potable again. Unfortunately if the food becomes radioactive there isn’t really any way to get rid of it. That’s why it is so important to have your stockpile of food stuffs as well as a means of creating your own food.

Having chickens, goats, cows, pigs, etc. is one thing, but if they are outside and become exposed, then what do you do?  To be honest, this scenario sounds pretty hopeless to me. Like if the planet took a large dose of radiation poisoning from multiple nuke strikes or multiple Fukushima-esque events, we would all be pretty much boned.

It already happened

There were events at Chernobyl and Fukushima that left large cities emptied because the radiation levels were too high for human habitation.

If that’s the case then there can be no doubt that the wildlife in those areas are also practically glowing. This is where your Geiger counter comes into play. Just say you are hunting and you take some game. A quick scan with your Geiger counter can tell you whether or not the animal is still fit to eat.

Here is a video where they are discussing the presence of radioactive animals around Fukushima. There are many more videos there discussing that subject, as well as radioactive wildlife near the Chernobyl plant:

Here is a video showing them testing abandoned equipment at Chernobyl with a Geiger counter. If you look at this video there will be many others to look at also, taken all around the Chernobyl plant.

Contaminated air

Masks

Many preppers already have a gas mask. But is it an NBC gas mask? Nuclear, Biological, and/or Chemical contaminations can all be covered with an NBC gas mask. If you don’t already have one, get one. Keep in mind that they don’t fit kids and they don’t work with beards etc.

If you live in a large city you really need one because the large cities will be hit first. If you live in the country you will still benefit from owning such an item.

Bunkers

For your bunker you will want to have an NBC filter on the air system. You can buy a small unit for around $500. Larger bunkers require larger or multiple filters, but if you have the money for such things I suggest investing.

What about the water

The same goes for the water supplies. You can’t just drink the water through a filter straw if it is radioactive. You have to have a way to first test the water to see whether or not it is radioactive. Then, if you discover that it is, you need to have a way to make it safe to drink.

This makes me think about our current water supplies condition. As an outdoorsman, I like to fish. I practice catch and release, I don’t like to eat fish. I know, it’s weird, but I just don’t like the taste. Well, here in America, where it’s supposed to be so clean, the reality is that there are guidelines for how much of what types of fish from what waterways is a safe amount to eat because of the chemical contamination in our waterways.

You can read more about what and how much fish you can eat here on the EPA Fish and Shellfish advisory guidelines.

If the water is polluted, the fish that swim in it are likewise tainted. The same will go for radiation. If a lake or river is radioactive, ALL of the wildlife that swim in it or drink from it will also be contaminated. Radiation is just some nasty stuff. I wish mankind had never opened that Pandora’s Box. Once it is here, it is here forever.

The possibility of radiation contaminated fish caused by the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown can be read about here (among other places) at the Mirror.

But once I know, what can I do?

Like the saying goes, knowing is half the battle. Once that you know there is radiation contamination in the food, water, or air, what can you do about it? Well, if you have immediate need for drinking water and it is contaminated it will take about 50-55 hours before you will be able to drink it.

But, believe it or not, water itself cannot be radioactive. It is actually the particulates IN the water that becomes radioactive, and you can filter the radioactive contaminants from the water using charcoal and clay. A quick overview of how to do this is:

geiger muller counter for civil defense

Small scale

STEP 1: Fill a gallon container with the water

STEP 2: Put a couple of cups of charcoal powder in it

STEP 3: Shake or stir it for a bit then let it sit for two to three hours

STEP 4: Strain through a cloth to remove the charcoal

STEP 5: Repeat the process, but let it sit for 24 hours

STEP 6: Strain it again

STEP 7: Now pour a couple of cups of powdered clay into the container of water

STEP 8: You need a three or four foot length of cord for this part, spin the container over your head (like a centrifuge) several rotations to force the clay to the bottom of the container

STEP 9: Let sit for 24 hours

STEP 10: Strain it again

STEP 11: Finally, boil the water to kill any microbes or bacteria

STEP 12: Let cool

STEP 13: TEST AGAIN

STEP 14: Drink if it checks out

Warning! We do NOT recommend you drink radiated water, ever. This article is for information purposes only.

Large scale

If you need to clean a larger body of water, like a cistern or even a pond, there are a few plants that will absorb the contamination into their root systems.

Water Hyacinth: a fast growing water plant with great absorption capabilities.

Sunflowers: a superior plant for absorbing radioactive material. These were used at Chernobyl. The roots absorbed about 8,000 times their volume of radioactive particles in about 24 hours.

Marijuana: also an excellent plant for cleaning water and soil of contaminants.

Last blast

Hopefully, none of us will ever need to try this. But if you ever need to, these methods supposedly proved effective in Chernobyl. Having a Geiger counter can tell you if you need to bother with this at all. If you don’t have a Geiger counter and there is a possibility that the water could be contaminated then it might be a good idea to filter it as described.

You won’t die having to wait two days plus to be able to drink the water, as long as you haven’t been without for awhile prior to finding it. That would be a terrible thought, dying of thirst only to find contaminated water then succumbing to the thirst before the water was fit to drink. Sounds about right.

Disclaimer

The information in this article is provided “as is” and should not be mistaken for or be a substitute for medical advice. Always consult your physician before trying any of the advice presented on this page. Always seek the help of a professional before employing any of the advice give here. We do not recommend you drink radiated water under any circumstances, this content is for information purposes only. Neither the author nor www.SurvivalSullivan.com or the company behind the website shall be held liable for any negative effects of you putting into practice the information in this article.

The post Why We Should All Have a Geiger Counter appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

Killing Bed Bugs and Natural Remedies for Crawling External Parasites Part 1

(Part 1: On Pets, Livestock, and Humans)

Crawling parasites can be the worst sort of nuisance, especially when you consider that in a post collapse situation there will be no running to the store for sprays, traps, or medicines. But with a few precautions using organic and all natural simple products you can live without additional “friends” in the woodwork, bedding, and on your pets.

Fleas

Who do they affect?

Human, pet, and livestock.

What are they? Fleas are parasites that are a dark brown black up to a light golden brown and when filled with eggs can be as big as a sesame seed. They move rapidly over your skin and their bite can be quite irritating.

How do they spread?

Once it is an adult, the flea spends almost its whole life on its host. Eggs can be produced and deposited on the host within 24 hours of the flea arriving there. With up to 200 eggs per laying cycle, this is how they spread fast. The eggs roll off the pet or are deposited in the bedding or any are your pet frequents. When the egg hatches, tiny larvae burrow into soft materials or dirt. They lay dormant for a few week if need be, and wait until the weather conditions are right. This is why sudden onslaughts of fleas can crop up during heat waves.

Symptoms

Not being able to sit still, scratching and red bites are symptoms to look for. Fleas do bite humans and can jump a few feet so bites on the lower legs are indications fleas may be in the house. Flea infestations can cause anemia and tapeworms in the host, human or animal.

Preventative measures

Using topical applications can help prevent fleas from choosing you or your pet for a host. Natural repellants include essential oils, including garlic in your diet, and using food grade diatomaceous earth so it doesn’t cause respiratory problems, and treating bedding and carpets indoors to dry out any eggs. I used to spend a lot on the topical medications that basically made your dog’s blood toxic to the flea, but the flea has to bite the pet for it to ingest the toxic substance. This means they still can hitch a ride and then get into the house. It also made me think about what is going on with the dog’s internal system to make him toxic to insects.

Bedding tip: I used to buy foggers and expensive powders, but the most effective substance I have used the last 5-6 years is basic table salt. After a good vacuum, I went through and sprinkled basic table salt on anything a flea could lodge or lay eggs in. Even in the mattresses and under the sheets. In the couches and pillows and we haven’t had a problem since.  We had moved into a new house and that first spring was horrible for them, they do lay dormant in winter, so I think the people before us had cats or dogs and an issue.

Washing tip: again I used to pay a lot for special dips and shampoos and of course the best alternative to that is so cheap- Dawn dish liquid. The dish liquid kills them on contact. If your best was hit by finding a nest while out running, or you can see them on him, then while dry squirt a line down from the top of his head to the tip of his tail. Soap the belly and undersides, herding them to the legs.

big dog dawn wash down

For larger dogs start at the top and smooth the dish liquid down.

little dog apply dawn

For smaller dogs soap the face and around the ears and belly, then the back and sides.

During this time the dead ones will start rising to the top. Then add water in a tub and place him in it, and then start adding water washing the fleas into it. If you start feet first or back first they will run into his ears or into his eyes and face. Pick off as much as you can, for the super big brown ones- full of eggs- it may just stun them for 5-10 minutes so flush or dispose of, you don’t want them waking up and infesting that area. For a repellant if he is out running, just squirt soapy water onto him to repel fleas.

There are several essential oils you can use as a deterrent to fleas also, mix with water and spritz him when he will be spending time outside:

  • Cedarwood
  • Citrus oil
  • Tea tree oil
  • Lemon oil
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Orange oil
  • Lavender

Ticks

Who do they affect?

Human, pets, and livestock.

What are they?

Ticks are actually more related to spiders (arthropods), rather than beetles or lice whom they resemble. Ticks come in 2 versions: hard shell and soft shelled. Many believed that this was male vs. female, but that is not the case. Both spread disease

How do they spread?

Ticks are most abundant from spring to late fall, but can be found all year long. A mild winter will escalate the numbers in spring making a boost in population.

Symptoms  The 2 types of types both can carry and spread disease, although the soft ticks bite is quite a bit more painful than the harder bodied tick. Once a tick bites you, you have 36 to 48 hours before any disease can be transmitted to a human host. This is why it extremely important not to squeeze or pull the tick from where it’s rooted in the flesh, as they can “vomit” their innards into the host and any accompanying disease, including the dreaded tick-borne Lyme that ravages the nervous system.

A reaction to the protein in the tick’s saliva is why most people first notice swelling, itchiness, and redness when bitten.  the tick’s saliva can carry a toxin that is carried with the saliva, with the most dangerous being the toxin responsible for Lyme disease. The tiny deer tick is the known carrier of the Lyme disease toxin, and they are extremely hard to spot as most sizes can be scaled down to the size of a pin head and fit almost anywhere undetected.

The most recognizable symptom of a tick bite that carried the Lyme toxin is the Bullseye rash accompanied by:

  • Headache
  • Heart palpitations with shortness of breath
  • Swelling and tenderness in the joints
  • Flu like symptoms with fever
  • Queasiness and nausea
  • Confusion and brain fog

Preventative measures

Due to the timeframe of disease transmission, it is crucial to do a body “tick check” on clothing and yourself after being outside, especially in heavy wooded and tall grassed lands. The tend to climb upwards to seams, and the more warm an area, the happier they are. Waist bands, tops of socks, collars and hairlines are spaces to check, plus any “warm areas” like armpits, ears, under chest and bra straps for women (embarrassingly I can preach to be true…do check).

For pets and food bearing animals, the hottest areas are on the head and especially around the eyes, toes, and in the ears. Check them regularly for ticks.

Bed Bugs

Who do they affect?

Humans. For the most part they survive solely on human blood.

What are they?

Bed bugs are small orangey-brown oval shaped bugs that feed directly on human blood. They are more active during the evening hours. Their numbers have soared with the increase in immigration and more international traveling. They are located all over the world and one of the most frightening facts is they like to hitch rides in suitcases to your home.

How do they spread?

They are found wherever humans are found as that’s their main food source. Crowded living situations, especially hotels and apartments with a high turnover of people, spread an infestation father quickly.

Symptoms

The rash from a bed bug bite contains small raised bumps that are flat on top and inflame the skin. Inflammation, redness, and intense itching accompany bites.

Preventative measures

Bedbugs love to hide and finding them and eradicating their nests is the only recourse for this external pest. Look in the seams of any materials, corners, or cracks that touch fabric in bedding, bed frames, carpet, curtains, wallpaper tearing away, wicker furniture or dresser drawers. The telltale signs will be dark droppings that look like little droplets of blood, like in the seams of a bed mattress.

Treatments

Sadly, there is no treatment for bedbug bites. Showering to remove them and trying to not scratch open the sores to prevent infection is the only recourse. Removing them from the area is the only way to prevent further bites.

Natural remedies

As the bed bug has an exoskeleton, using diatomaceous earth or baking soda can eliminate them as it enters the bugs exoskeleton and dries him out from the inside by getting into his respiratory system. Sprinkle it in cracks, drawers, seams, and carpets. Boric acid can be used also, but away from pets and livestock. The best way to apply diatomaceous earth or baking soda to a mattress or hard to read spot is buy dipping a paintbrush into the mix, and then brushing it on.

baking soda ingredients

baking soda dish

brush on dogs

baking soda brush points

There are a few ways to construct a bed bug trap that can help catch the stragglers.

This is a great test using only a cup to determine where an infestation is. It is a very smart and effective trick to try if you are staying somewhere or checking a place out. As bedbugs will climb up the legs of a bed or dresser, set a regular cup under the bed by the leg.

coffee cup

Check back in a few days. As they can’t climb out, any that were moving during the night then seeking refuge will be caught. Check out this horrible site from a hotel we were thinking of staying at. We didn’t stay. God knows what would’ve come home with us!

bug trap cup

Here is the most effective trap, and maybe the easiest:

 bed bug bottle trap step 1

bed bug bottle trap step 2

bed bug bottle trap step 3

Creepy crawlies can happen to anyone when you venture outside, so hopefully with these tips you can apply preventative measures and treat any outbreaks.

The post Killing Bed Bugs and Natural Remedies for Crawling External Parasites Part 1 appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

How to Assemble an EDC First Aid Kit and Where to Keep It

The I-85 bridge in Atlanta Georgia, a major highway for both commuters and vacationers, collapsed last week due to a fire that allegedly started in a shopping cart beneath the bridge. The fire that resulted led to the collapse of one part of the bridge and damage to several other sections. I personally have family members in Atlanta who crossed over that bridge about a half hour prior to its collapse. No one could have predicted that fire or the bridge collapse that followed.

Thankfully, no injuries were reported due to the bridge collapse, but traffic was jammed for hours, something many people weren’t expecting. I can recall last winter, those same family members in Atlanta, being stuck for hours on the interstate due to a freak snowstorm. They were literally within just a couple miles of home but simply stranded with hundreds of others in their cars, unable to move, until help arrived. In fact, the reconstruction and repairs to the I-85 bridge may result in unexpected traffic jams and major delays over the next several months as families travel for Spring and Summer vacations.

If you’re like most people, it may be difficult for you to know where to even begin when it comes to being prepared for a crisis or SHTF event. Many people start with a bug out bag or BOB, which is a bag designed to carry all the supplies you would need to survive if you and your family were forced to leave your home for a period of twenty-four to seventy-two hours. A 72-hour BOB is a necessity on your list of SHTF preparations. But what about emergencies like the two I’ve described? And those little illnesses or injuries that happen without warning or any notice at home, work, or while on vacation.

Have you ever had something go wrong just during a routine day at work? Perhaps you smashed your finger with a hammer or were the closest person to a co-worker stung by a bee. We want to be ready for anything at any time, but we can’t possibly predict when medical issues will arise. Plus, it’s just not practical for anyone to carry a fifteen or twenty-pound bag of supplies around with them constantly “just in case” something happens. So how can you be more prepared for whatever life may throw at you no matter when it occurs?

One of the first goals on your list as a prepper should involve your everyday carry or EDC kit. This is the kit that you carry with you on your person wherever you go, whether you are at home, at work, or on vacation with the family. It’s the items that you have with you and can rely on until you can safely get to your bug out bag or a more comprehensive kit that you keep stored safely away.

Most people, even those who aren’t yet consciously prepping, have items that are never out of reach, such as keys, a wallet or purse, and a cell phone. An EDC kit simply expands on these items that you carry every day and includes additional items that would come in handy in an emergency, such as a pocket knife, personal defense weapon, some change or cash, etc. For more items to consider for your full EDC kit, check out our megalist of EDC items. As part of your kit, always include a variety of first aid items for medical issues that may arise.

For this article, we are going to focus on just the EDC first aid kit and where to store it so that it is within easy reach when life’s little medical emergencies rear their head.

Step One: What Can Go Wrong?

To figure out what medical items we need to carry, let’s first take a moment to really think about all the different types of medical things that could go wrong, not just during a bug out or survival situation but on an everyday basis. If you spend some time reflecting on the medical illnesses and injuries you’ve experienced in the past, you can quickly come up with a long list of things that can happen without much warning such as:

  • Cuts and scrapes
  • Splinters
  • Burns
  • Skin irritations
  • Puncture wounds
  • Bug bites
  • Allergies
  • Sunburn
  • Dehydration
  • Hypothermia
  • Infection
  • Fever
  • Upset stomach
  • Hangnail or broken fingernail
  • Sprained or broken ankle
  • Sunburn, Sun poisoning, or Heat stroke
  • Heart Attack
  • Diabetic Imbalance (high or low glucose)
  • Inflammation, muscle soreness
  • Rehydration (electrolyte)
  • Bee stings
  • Trauma injuries

Now you may be looking at that list and thinking “how can I possibly carry enough stuff with me at all times to be prepared for all that?” And of course, there is absolutely no way that one person can be prepared for every single illness, injury, or emergency with just a small number of items.

Step Two: What Will You Need?

But if you think strategically about your  kit and where to store it, there are ways that you can be prepared for a wide variety of things without having to lug a huge first aid kit with you at all times. When you look back over the list we made of things that can go wrong above; you’ll see that there are some obvious categories when it comes to treating those injuries and illnesses.

Pain, Infection, or Fever

There are some categories that almost everyone will deal with at some point in their life. Whether it’s a headache, a twisted ankle, or something more serious, you’ll want to have at least a couple of doses of pain relieving medication on hand. Even minor cuts and scrapes can get infected, and if you or a family member is running a high fever, it can certainly throw a wrench in your day. A fever or infection during a bug out trip can be disastrous if not treated. It’s a good idea to carry triple antibiotic cream as well as a thermometer and fever reducing medication.

Allergic Reactions and Skin Irritations

Most people have had at least some experience with allergic reactions. But every person is different, and allergy reactions can range from very mild hives to a life-threatening breathing problem. Even if you know you have an allergy, it’s not always possible to avoid allergy triggers. Make sure you include the medication you need to both treat and stop any allergic reactions. Antihistamine medications and hydrocortisone creams are standard treatments for mild reactions. If you have a known life-threatening allergy, you’ll want to include an Epi-pen as well.

Be sure to consider treatments for other minor skin irritations such as bug bites, sunburn, and blisters. You may want to carry single-use packets of calamine lotion, aloe vera gel, or a moleskin or cushion bandage as well as Band-Aids in various sizes which can greatly reduce discomfort until you can get home.

Trauma or Shock

If emergency and transportation workers had not been able to clear the bridge in Atlanta prior to its collapse, there could have been hundreds of people hurt unexpectedly. An event of this magnitude can result in not only minor injuries but also some more serious injuries such as broken bones and severe bleeding, or dizziness, from a crash or fall, possibly some heart attacks or burns, and the resulting trauma and shock that comes with these injuries. When there are widespread events that cause injury to multiple people, professional help may be delayed. This is why it’s important to include things such as a tourniquet, compression or butterfly bandages, splint materials, burn cream, gauze, etc.

Gastrointestinal Problems

We’ve all had days when our stomach and the intestinal system doesn’t work quite as well as it should for whatever reason. If you experience frequent bouts of gastrointestinal issues, it should include medications to treat things in this category including an antidiarrheal, laxative, Pepto Bismol, anti-nausea medication, and antacids.

Situational/Occupation Issues

Sometimes your location or occupation may dictate what you need to carry in your EDC first aid kit. If you are hiking for days in the wilderness or kayaking, you may want to take along a CPR mask and an emergency Mylar blanket in case of a water accident. For a ski trip, you may want to include items to treat hypothermia and frostbite.

Those who work in an office environment may need to treat minor burns, cuts, scrapes, headache or fever whereas a construction worker may want to carry items to temporarily treat trauma wounds such as bleeding and bruising that can occur from a fall, a power tool, or heavy equipment accident. Park rangers and police officers may need to be prepared to temporarily treat things such as gunshot wounds, hypothermia, dehydration, or car accident injuries. Factory workers may be more likely to need to temporarily treat injuries such as lacerations, burns, trauma wounds, or chemical burns.

Step Three: Where to Keep It?

Once you’ve narrowed down the items that you need to carry in your EDC first aid kit, the next step is to gather it all together and store it so that you have quick and easy access to it when needed. There are a ton of different types of containers you can use for your EDC first aid kit. When choosing a container for your EDC first aid kit, consider what you need to keep in it and how frequently you will need to access it. You may want to put together several different first aid kits geared toward different activities that you regularly do.

There is no right way or wrong to assemble your EDC first aid kit. You can choose to keep everything together in one small container, or you can divide the items up and carry them in different places. You can keep several band-aids in your wallet. Use a small film canister to store individual doses of pain relief and other pills. You may want to keep a CPR mask, latex gloves, and scissors in your desk at work or the glove compartment of your car. Antacids and Pepto Bismol make sense in a lunchbox or tool box.

Here are just some of the places you can keep your items:

  • Wallet or purse
  • Pockets
  • Briefcase or Laptop Bag
  • Desk drawer at work
  • Glove compartment in your car
  • Center console in your car
  • Your GHB (get home bag)
  • Waist or fanny pouch
  • Lunchbox or toolbox

The major considerations for assembling this type of first aid and where to store it are that it’s lightweight, accessible when needed, durable (i.e. waterproof/water resistant), and flexible enough to meet as many medical needs as possible for the locations or scenarios that occur most frequently for you.

Do you currently have an EDC first aid kit? If so, review its contents and consider the things mentioned above. Can you add any items that will increase the odds that you are prepared to handle life’s little emergencies as well as any serious injuries that could occur? If you don’t already have such a  kit, now is as good a time as any to get one assembled so you can be more ready the next time something happens. Did we miss something on our lists that you think should be included? Share your ideas in the comments below.

Disclaimer

The information in this article is provided “as is” and should not be mistaken  for or be a substitute for medical advice. Always consult your physician before trying any of the advice presented on this page. Always seek the help of a professional before employing any of the advice given in this article. Neither the author nor www.SurvivalSullivan.com or the company behind the website shall be held liable for any negative effects of you putting into practice the information in this article.

The post How to Assemble an EDC First Aid Kit and Where to Keep It appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

[VIDEO] Bulding a Ladder with Paracord Rope and Branches

Hey everyone,

We just uploaded a new youtube video showing how to make some DIY ladders with branches and paracord. 4 ways in total, the 3rd one is actually not found anywhere else on youtube:

Be sure to subscribe to our youtube channel for new videos – we have 7 that are waiting to be published and there are lots more to come.

The post [VIDEO] Bulding a Ladder with Paracord Rope and Branches appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

The 26 Best Snares for Survival: Land, Air, Sea

Snares are the survivalist’s secret weapon for a few different reasons. They are inexpensive, they require very few materials to make, they are extremely effective with quite a high success rate, they are reliable, and they do not take much energy to make (preserving crucial caloric stores).

How can snares factor into survival?

When you are in any situation in regards to survival, it is smart to consider your time and energy when doing anything. You must balance the cost in effort and burnt calories, with the payoff. The more you can benefit from any action and the less effort and cost to your resources it takes, the more you should focus on its use.

There is not one primitive culture, indigenous people, or any tribe where meat has not helped them survive.  The way the human brain evolved was the amino acids and variety of proteins made available by things like hunting. Grey matter in humans is mostly free amino acids from animals, compared to animal grey matter (Science Direct) which is a lower ratio. To support the growth of our brain, man had to consume proteins more than ever and a variety of foods, so hunting with traps and gathering methods evolved based on efficiency and successfulness.

It would have been almost impossible to gather and consume enough calories by edible plants alone for survival before modern times, not even factoring in cold weather or season changes. For modern times, there are luxuries that provide an option of not eating meat like modern equipment to farm, process food, transport food, and have it prepared and available in supply chains. If those luxuries are once again removed, by SHTF, TEOTWAWKI, EMP, or another world changing event, or even if you just want to live off the grid and go self-sufficient, meat will again come to the forefront to if you want the best odds to survive.

How are snares more a more effective way to hunt?

As mentioned, the actual cost in your time, materials, and energy over the ratio of success. They are simple and wildly effective and can be made with locally sourced natural materials in a variety of ways. Many of the ones found in Paleolithic times are still used today, and snares are considered to predate recorded history according to the Proceedings of the Tenth Vertebrate Pest Conference.  They made the association from seeing or comprehending animals and men getting snagged in vines, or maybe it was in traversing terrain searching for food, and in learning what to avoid by means of roots, holes, snagging foliage, etc they discovered a concept. They applied the reasoning to making a means to capture the animal or enemy tribe (that may be a bigger or stronger one coming to loot your family and supplies by their own hand), hence setting the snare at their direction and for their personal needs where they want it vs. naturally occurring. In thinking on this, it would be early use of tools in tactical thinking for survival.

In every conquering land acquisition or part of war snares and traps are mentioned, from Vikings and the Bayeux Tapestry and in many wars, up to today. Armies need to eat and when they run out of lead, they are an effective tool for use against man and animal.

What makes a trap a snare?

This article is a focused overview complied of the different types of snares that can be used for survival on land, air, and by sea. Snares may have more parts, especially the more complicated ones, but the base concept is always 3 main parts. That is a trip line and trigger, with an anchor somewhere.

Survival Sullivan’s guide to the Best Snares for Survival: by Land, by Air, and by Sea

Some many have evolved from rustic and primitive builds due to climate, animal, or terrain, but this is a guide comprised of only snares. The simplest form and design in many ways, and the most effective in others. We have sorted the most useful in survival situations, and for the catch intended. We plan on following up one by one with DIY directions and I have set some presently to provide tips and hands-on use, and to see what I can catch, how fast, and since are on a trail cam, if the animal snared was able to escape and by what means, etc.

If there are any you’d like to see that are not on the list, just drop us a line and we would love to know what you are interested in!

Snares by land

basic hangmans noose loop snare

An example of a primitive snare is the basic Hangman’s Noose with a simple loop and a slip knot supported on brush. These were made of twisted bark, leather lashings, or braided hair. Snares like these were used by Indigenous peoples to trade fur with the Europeans in the New World.

 

19th century snare
Photo: 19th Century snare

An example of a 19th Century snare with a bait stick, trigger mechanism, and wire. When cooper, bronze, brass and iron wire came on the market, snares were constructed of these materials to improve the strength of the snare. Trappers also experimented and discovered by using a double twisted wire the animal cannot twist out of it, it actually tightens the trap, further securing the animal. Success rates grew with this innovation.

 

basic trip wire trap

The Basic trip wire snare is a simple, yet very effective survival trap. It has it’s “engine” with a tension balanced trigger piece. This can be modified for large or small game, and can be used for intruder’s legs. A variation of this trap is with a net, or with bait. As with most of these traps, in survival situations, boot laces or paracord can be used in place of wire. These are effective on migration and hunting trails, or on a path to a watering hole.

 

mojave scissor trap
Photo: Mojave scissor trap

Mojave Scissor Trap this spring based trap is an antique design and can be recognized by the “V” that closes on the animal when it goes for the bait. The V acts as a fulcrum and is where the most force will be placed, performing lightning fast like scissors on the animal’s neck once the tension is released. This is a good alternative trap for animals that may be long bodied and prone to having their intestines damaged and leaking toxins in a deadfall trap.

 

treadle snares

Treadle snare is used for small game and to acquire trail game. The bottom stick is adjusted with tension so it is best to use this with a channel to herd the animal into going through the opening.

 

double snare spring trap

Double Snare Spring trap utilizes an anchor that doubles up on the Hangman’s noose to its full advantage.

 

Paiute Deadfall Trap

Paiute Deadfall trap is a trap known for its sensitive triggering mechanics resulting in successfully capturing small light bodied animals that may escape more traditional methods. It has a 5 piece triggering system, but other than that is pretty simple and can be made from elements laying round pretty quickly.

 

small game deadfall trap
Photo: small game deadfall trap

Small game deadfall trap This trap relies on an animal pulling the wired bait stick and basically the weight of the rock will smash them. It is used for rabbit, squirrel, rats, pigeons, etc.

 

scent activated deadfall trap

Scent activated deadfall trap is the small game trap, but instead of a baited trigger the animal will pull a scented, or greased, line to activate the deadfall weight.

 

Scissor Deadfall Trap

Scissor deadfall trap is a trap that engages a dynamic spring and a hammer arm that make for a quick death when the prey sticks his head through the “A” for the bait set.

 

bird line snare

Bird line snare. This is an Old English method used for birds like pheasants and pigeons in corn stubble, grassy land or in hedgerows. Fishing line or very thin cord about 6 foot in length is strung through raisins and berries, there may be a hook used at the end in some variations, but the bird will ingest quite a good length and not be able to get away.

 

bow trap

Bow trap uses a trip line to activate a bow and arrow set. This can be quite effective on larger prey like deer, Elk and bear.

 

squrrie pole trap

Squirrel pole trap is great for catching squirrels. All you need is some wire, a few screws and a few poles. It is best used under a tree with a “drey”, a squirrel’s nest, so you can catch them on the way down. This is also good for mink, ermine, and weasel.

 

Tilong Small game snare

Tilong Small game snare uses a paddle and a whip pole that is set off by a complicated engine; this is used to capture animals like rats alive as they are trapped inside the tube until released.

 

apache foot trap

Apache foot trap this was a trap for larger prey and intruders. It caught the animal by the leg and held them there, in many cases a snare was used across the hole too, so it is included.

 

atipil

The Atipil Snare is a tension based snare that plants the main action stick in the ground, and when activated the whip like set will snare the animal by the neck. This one is good for nesting grounds and small game. The trigger extends beyond the body of the trap, so it has a nice force. Nervous and quick animals can be caught with this.

 

Snares by air

 

Ojibwa bird pole snare

Ojibwa bird pole snare, this one is a very old design used by Native Americans for hundreds of years. A 4 foot pole is set in a clearing to be a “perch” for birds. When the bird lands, the weight sets the snare in action and it encloses around the birds feet. Do not use too heavy of a weight, as you may take off the legs and feet.

 

calayan snare

The Calayan Snare this snare was developed on the Calayan islands to catch a mainstay of their diet, the thrush. Larger birds such as fishing hawks and the even bigger eagles can be caught with a modified version. A four foot pole is cut free from branches, but one is left to attach to a slip noose after being drawn back tightly. Birds grasp the bait and the whipping action catches their legs. This is a cousin to the Ojibwa pole.

 

 

Filipino Bird Snare

Filipino Bird Snare uses poles that lie across at an angle, and then bait is sprinkled over them.  A short vertical stick and a crosspiece elevate the snare line. It has an advantage of being able to be activated anywhere on the trap surface. When the trigger is activated, the whip pole catches the bird’s feet. This is a way to catch birds alive. Some variances dig shallow holes to make the bird work deeper for the corn. Any bird reaching its neck into the depression will get its head stuck in the noose.

 

ground nest snare

The Ground Nest Snare or Wild Cock Snare is for use over nests and below the ground line. A smaller version is used to catch ground feeding birds by the foreface. A shallow pit is dug and then corm is strung along the line to the buried nest. An anchor holds the snare in place as the bird is caught with this mini-net. It is quite effective for preening birds and birds nesting.

 

the nest snare

The Nest Snare is usually cup designed and the principle is that the snare is in suspension over the nest of the bird with strongly bent light bamboo pieces. The trap is placed so a returning bird can enter one of the sides and be caught in one of the four nooses.

 

landet trap

The Landet snare is a scissors spring type of trap that relies on tension over a noose closing on the head or neck. It utilizes a deadfall effect by scissoring the “V” shaped jaws of the trap to close the bamboo pieces on the prey. Button quail and migratory birds are caught quite well with this method.

 

igorote lingan

The Igorote Lingan is actually used to capture condors in the Caraballo Mountains, and is quite effective along cliff walls and by the entrances to small caves. This device consists of slender bamboo tied in horse hairs. It is put up above favorite bushes and shrubs, or any other favorite perches of the flocking birds as condors will perch there to hunt.

Snares by sea

wild fowl rock snare

Wild Fowl rock snare this was popularized mostly with duck, but any wild fowl can be caught if you have the right bait. A thick stake is driven into the water bed and a stone about 1/3 or ½ the duck’s weight is placed on top of it. A bait line is attached to the stone, and when the bait is taken, the stone drags the bird underwater drowning it.

 

Drowning Snare set

Drowning Snare Set uses a noose and activation with a steep hill. Once the trigger is activated, it pulls the animal down into the water source to await retrieval.

 

Night Line snare fishing

Night Line snare fishing. Considered by most as the best survival fishing snare as it requires little to no energy, this can be lifesaving when there may be little energy or strength to spare. Many suggest using more than a few at once to capitalize on the fish when they are the most active, at midnight. Set them when night first falls, so when midnight comes around you are ready. Check them in the morning and claim your catches. They are used for almost all types of fish, and its not uncommon when you snare a fish to have that fish turn out to be bait for another larger fish- you could get lucky and have Eel-pike-Bass like a Turducken!

 

water apache
Photo: water apache trap

Water Apache this is a variation of the apache foot trap, but placed in the water with a bait stick in the middle or buried bait. When used over a hole dug a few feet deep you can trap animals that may be leery of trails but need to come to the water to drink and prey on other animals there. Many hunters would use these for gators. The biggest use was beaver, especially when the fur trade started gathering steam and prices skyrocketed.

Wrapping up

The key to survival and especially when hunting by snare, is to utilize all resources you have and adjust and modify as you go. This is the best way to achieve success and the best tool you have is your reasoning and ability to evolve in these situations.

Please join us as we explore this ancient art in our upcoming snares series!

The post The 26 Best Snares for Survival: Land, Air, Sea appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

The Governor vs. the Judge

photo credits: adapted from Ben Branam on Flickr.com

Which came first, the Governor or the Judge? Well, in regards to those two particular guns, the Taurus Judge actually came out before the higher priced, big brand name Smith and Wesson jumped on the bandwagon with their version known as the Governor.

Most people are oblivious to that fact and incorrectly believe that the Governor came out first since it’s a Smith and Wesson and that the Judge, being merely a Taurus, was copied from it. Well, they have been misled (or just didn’t bother to research it), but here’s another bit of information that people are likely unaware of. Taurus wasn’t the first to come out with this style of handgun either.

thunder 5 .410 revolver
License: Joe Loong via Flickr

First! MIL inc. Thunder five

That distinction goes to MIL Inc.’s Thunder five, the first .410 shot shell revolver. But due to poor marketing strategies and the unwillingness of the American public to accept a heavy, clumsy, pocket shotgun, sales were low and the gun was discontinued after only six short years of manufacturing.

That’s not even mentioning that it really wasn’t a very attractive piece in the first place. One of the lures to draw people in to buy a handgun is the sleek lines and graceful curves that just say hold me. Well, the thunder five didn’t really have any of those attributes.

It was mostly just a big ugly chunk of metal that held five .410 shot shells as an oddity or five .45 long colt cartridges if you wanted to lay a whump on someone. The problem is that if you want to fire a .45 Long Colt at someone, this wasn’t the best tool for doing so as it has about two full inches of jump before the bullet even hits the barrel.

A long bullet jump like that is generally not conducive to accuracy, in other words it’s a big belly gun (a belly gun is what you call a gun that is useless for anything more than jabbing it in some ones belly and pulling the trigger due to poor accuracy). The gun was manufactured from 1992 until 1998 but just never seemed to catch on.

In 1994 they came out with a version chambered in .45/70 government for a California legal version as the .410 shot shell version was illegal in California. I’d wager it was exactly the same gun and they just marked it “.45/70 Government”. I would like to have a handgun that fired .45/70 Government if it was a fully rifled and accurate weapon with a five or six inch barrel. That would be neat.

Like this one here:

Here comes the Judge

Eight years after the MIL Inc. Thunder five stopped production, in 2006 Taurus comes onto the scene with their Judge and suddenly all eyes were on the “new” .410 revolver on the market.

taurus judge .410
photo credits: Ben Branam on Flickr.com

Granted, it is a much better looking piece of hardware than the Thunder five, and because it’s a Taurus you know you will get a lot of gun for your money. You might say you get a lot of bang for your buck (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself).

Available in a lustrous blue finished steel or full stainless steel construction, The Judge, I suppose, makes a handy defense weapon for the blind, the incredibly shaky (remember Don Knots in the shakiest gun in the west?), or those that encounter a lot of snakes. No, seriously, it does make for one hell of a snake gun.

Besides those three reasons I think there are countless numbers of much better pieces to choose from for a self defense weapon. However I think the novelty of being a shot gun pistol alone combined with a very accessible price, is reason enough to add two to the Zombie arsenal. Sometimes it just doesn’t matter if the gun is practical when it just neat.

Jerry Miculek shooting the Judge and Governor:

Copy gat

Then along came Smith and Wesson in 2011 with their double priced version of the pocket shotgun. No advances on the design except for the addition of one more chamber in the cylinder and maybe some fancier sights. Then there is the space age model with a nifty little red laser beam projecting from the grip (to show the bad guys where you are), which I suspect is for the blind person that can’t aim, and a seemingly “exotic” metal construction, Scandium Alloy, which isn’t really all that exotic actually.

As it turns out, Scandium Alloy is just a fancy word for this lesser known yet very abundant metal, alloyed most commonly with aluminum. In other words it’s an aluminum alloy frame. So for the die-hard Smith and Wesson fan (which I am not), you can purchase their version of the .410 pocket shotgun for merely about the cost of two of the Taurus’ offerings of stainless steel, which is a much more durable and reliable material in my opinion.

Of course now they both offer their own versions of a pocket shotgun in my least favorite firearm frame construction material, polymer. Although my EDC gun is a polymer frame and it’s only accurate to about fifty feet, but that’s good enough for a personal defense weapon when you expect that you might need it no farther than ten feet or so.

The CCDW test in my state says you need only put 11 out of 21 on a torso sized target at 7 yards, or 21 feet so I don’t expect to be having a shootout too far apart. If so I’ll open my trunk.

Revolver shotgun

Not to be outdone, Taurus follows up with their carbine version of the shotgun revolver with their Circuit Judge Revolver carbine.

This is a nifty little oddity which has about as much use as the revolvers do, but again, if for nothing more than the novelty and price, add it to the collection.

Just make sure you don’t break off the deflector shield or else your forearm will be sprayed with powder burns from the side blast that is well known with revolvers. You also don’t want to shoot it left handed as the deflector shield is set up for right handed shooters. I’m not sure if they offer a left handed version.

The circuit judge looks to me to be nothing more than a Judge hand gun frame with a longer barrel and a butt stock made to fit around the frames grip strap. I can’t confirm this suspicion, but that’s what it looks like to me, and I think anyone that looks at it will see the same thing. The point of this piece of machinery eludes me, as a pump or semi auto shotgun will hold more rounds and likely be more wieldable. Again, it’s just a neat oddity for the collection.

Here’s a video review:

Other contenders

The popularity of these pocket shotguns has spurred yet another creation, this one seemingly even less wieldable and useful, being a single action offering. I am not known for my fondness of single action handguns, in general so I may be somewhat biased in my opinion.

But as I am not being paid to support any particular product, I only offer my most honest and humble opinion. The latest creation in the pocket shotgun world is the USFA shot pistol TM. But this offering seems to have gone defunct before it ever hit the market. Perhaps oversaturation of a slim market put this idea to rest before it ever got a chance to prove its self worth?

But for them to try to compete against the current production of double action, modern appearing, pieces of weaponry was doom from the beginning. Let us also not forget that USFA is also the maker of the most terrible handgun ever created, the USFA Zip .22

Because why the hell not, that’s why

Accuracy, I’m sure, is lacking in any of these when firing a .45 long colt cartridge, if for no other reason, that two inch bullet jump just sticks in my head. I mean, they might be ok but at least in comparison to an actual .45 long colt revolver I’m sure they will be left lacking.

Let’s not forget the shot shell pattern out of that short barrel has to be so wide as to hit an attacker with only a few bits of shot. When I was younger I owned a pair of cheap .45LC/.410 double barrel derringers that I referred to affectionately as my “mule legs” because they opened just like a regular double barrel shotgun. Not much to look at but they were neat and fun to play with.

But these things sprayed a pattern about ten feet wide and two feet high at about twenty feet, so, good for crowd control, but not really very effective beyond point blank range for self-defense. Although, the .45 slug came out amazingly accurate  out to about twenty five or thirty feet (that’s the farthest I tried them) considering it had all of ½ inch of rifling at the end of the barrel. But all in all they were purchased for the novelty.

In closing

Personally, none of these are what I would consider a good EDC weapon. They are too big and too heavy and offer too few shots for the space they take up. Are they fun to shoot? Sure. Are they neat looking in the gun collection? Of course they are. Are they practical? Not really. Does any of that matter? Well, it does if you are looking for a good defense carry weapon, but it doesn’t if you just want a neat gun to add to the collection.

The post The Governor vs. the Judge appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

73 EDC Items to Keep in Your Car

The term EDC or everyday carry, refers to the items and survival gear that you carry with you on a daily basis. Experts recommend you select essential items that are discreet and lightweight enough to be carried at all times. Normally this means using your pockets, or wearing items around your neck, on your belt, etc. But it just isn’t practical to carry every single thing you might need in a survival situation. The desire to be prepared for a wide variety of emergencies is why many people supplement EDC kits with a get home bag (GHB) and a car BOB.

But EDC takes on a whole new meaning if you are someone who spends a lot of time in your car while traveling from place to place. Sure, you’ll have some items that you carry with you every day just like every other prepper. But as a professional driver using your vehicle for expanded storage of EDC items increases the odds that you are prepared at any given time.

In all likelihood, if you’re a professional or commercial driver, when SHTF you may be hundreds of miles from home. This puts you at a distinct disadvantage compared to others who are closer to home or work when something happens. It means you will have much farther to travel in order to get home to your family if that’s part of your plan. You will need more supplies.

Along with the increased odds that you will be farther away from home when SHTF, you also have a lot more interactions with a variety of unfamiliar people on a daily basis. This puts you at a greater risk for carjackings or other crimes where you need to defend yourself. Many commercial drivers must deal with people who are angry, rude, intoxicated, ill, and even violent. If you’re in your vehicle for most of the day or travel frequently, you’re also at an increased risk of being involved in or witnessing a car accident or other roadside emergencies.

Below is a list of the EDC items that most people consider essential for survival when things go awry on any given day. Of course, whether you can carry a gun or a knife will depend on the area you live in and what the laws are for your area and for the areas you will be traveling through on any given trip. Make sure you thoroughly investigate laws in the states you will be traveling to and from no matter what kind of vehicle you drive.

Critical Items

  1. Keyring and keys
  2. Cell phone and a car charger
  3. Wallet/Purse
  4. ID and Badge
  5. Insurance Card

EDC Items to Keep in Your Car

If you do find yourself stranded on the side of the road for several hours or even overnight, you will want to have some or all of these survival items on hand:

  1. Mini multi-tool
  2. Pocket knife
  3. Flashlight
  4. Notepad and Pen
  5. Handgun
  6. Multi-tool
  7. Paracord
  8. Lighter
  9. Band-Aids
  10. Magnesium Fire Stick
  11. Neosporin
  12. Bottled water
  13. LifeStraw
  14. Maps of the area in case GPS stops working
  15. First aid kit
  16. Emergency Blanket
  17. Two-Way Radio or CB Radio
  18. Fishing Kit & Collapsible Pole

emergency car kit

 Comfort and Convenience Items

The glove compartment or center console is a good place to store comfort and convenience items including:

  1. Car sickness bags
  2. hand cream
  3. Chapstick
  4. Napkins
  5. Hand sanitizer
  6. Gum or candy
  7. Dried fruit and jerky
  8. Extra blankets

EDC Items for Repairs

Consider using part of the far back of the trunk space or another out of the way area for a duffel bag or other container to store items such as:

  1. Road flares
  2. Spare fuses, brake light and turn signal bulbs
  3. Extra engine oil and brake fluid
  4. Duct Tape or electrical tape
  5. Spare Engine coolant
  6. Tire iron and jack
  7. Power steering fluid
  8. Work gloves
  9. Brake Adjustment Tools
  10. Rachet Straps
  11. Channel Locks and Vise Grips
  12. 15 feet or more of tow chain and/or 30 foot 20,000 pound tow strap
  13. WD-40 or other lubricant
  14. Tire repair kit
  15. Gasoline siphon and funnel
  16. Ice/Snow Scraper
  17. Come Along
  18. Spare gasoline Can
  19. Jumper Cables

Clothing Items

In a SHTF or other emergency, a change of clothing that is warmer and/or more durable if you break down or are stranded or have to strike out on foot for some reason.

  1. Change of clothes (seasonally appropriate)
  2. Sturdy shoes
  3. Wool socks
  4. Winter hat
  5. Winter gloves
  6. Thermal underwear if you regularly travel in cold weather
  7. Sunglasses or prescription glasses if applicable
  8. Raincoat or poncho
  9. Hand and Foot warmers
  10. Coveralls

EDC items to help get yourself or other victims out of a crashed vehicle including:

  1. seat belt cutter
  2. glass breaker or center punch for breaking windows
  3. pry bar
  4. small fire extinguisher.

Chauffers, Taxi, and Uber Drivers

If you make your living transporting other people to their destinations then you must be prepared without making yourself a target. Consider carrying more items from the customer convenience and comfort category even during normal times in the event of major delays due to traffic or weather. In addition, your own personal security and that of your riders will be of more importance. Make sure you know what company policy and state laws dictate about the types of self-defense weapons you can legally carry in your vehicle.

Semi-Truck Drivers

As a semi-truck driver, especially over the road, you will spend much of your time miles or hundreds of miles from home. You’ll be more likely to be stranded on the side of the road due to a traffic jam or severe weather, sometimes overnight. Most semi-truck cabs are equipped today with sleeping quarters if you have to pull over and as long as you have fuel you should be warm. Semi-truck drivers who are over the road may want to have a fully equipped BOB in the event SHTF while you are on the road.

Security and self-defense can definitely be an issue but make sure you are aware of your company policy regarding concealed carry. If you own your rig then you need to fully understand the proper CCW permits for any areas that you may travel through on your route. In some cases, if you are caught with a handgun in a commercial vehicle, you can go to prison for five years. Many weight stations are now equipped with X-ray machines which can detect hidden guns.

Bus Drivers

The EDC items to keep in your vehicle if you drive a bus for a living will be customized differently if you are a school bus driver, a city bus driver, or a charter/tour bus driver. Professional bus drivers who transport children or families will need to be more prepared to provide for the safety of passengers. Considering the increase in security issues aboard buses, you will want to know what your company policy is regarding self-defense weapons you can carry.

If your bus full of passengers becomes stranded in a traffic jam or severe weather, you’ll want to be prepared to keep them safe and content in order to prevent tempers and panic from getting out of control. The items in the comfort and convenience category will help people remain calm. It might benefit you to also carry extra bottled water, snacks, and even a portable toilet if your bus doesn’t have one built in.

Construction Industry Drivers

As a construction industry driver you may be more likely to be on scene when someone experiences a traumatic injury such as a severe laceration, broken bones or concussion from a fall, or even a crushed injury to an extremity. You may be parked on the side of the road when a co-worker is hit by a passing car. Having supplies on hand to temporarily treat yourself or someone else medically until help arrives if it’s available, can save lives.

Pay special attention to the comfort and convenience and clothing categories so that you can be prepared to prevent or treat dehydration and hypothermia both of which can be   real threats for those who work in the construction industry.

EMT/Paramedics

Obviously when it comes to medical supplies for survival, EMTs, and paramedics have a variety of supplies that must be stocked so they can tend to patients while enroute to a hospital. But think about what additional supplies you would need if you were first on the scene because you drove past an accident scene on your way back from a hospital run or if your ambulance was hijacked or broke down during a SHTF situation.

You could need to defend yourself  or make a minor repair so you can get back on the road quickly. Having additional supplies might even mean you can get someone free of a car in time to save their life if their car is underwater or on fire.

Delivery Drivers

This category of drivers includes a wide variety of people who must drive to deliver or pick up items. Delivery drivers can include pizza or take-out delivery people, postal workers, UPS, and Fed-Ex drivers as well as moving truck and furniture delivery drivers. For the most part, these drivers are in their own vehicle or a company vehicle and have multiple stops in a particular area.

If you own your car, obviously you can carry more EDC items than someone who shares a company car. But every delivery driver should be prepared with extra pens, maps of the area for when the GPS isn’t working, weatherproof shoes or boots, a raincoat with a hood or a waterproof poncho.

Because you must travel to the houses of people who are unfamiliar to you, self-defense becomes a priority for delivery drivers too. We’ve all heard stories of postal and UPS drivers being attacked by a dog. Always check your company policy before deciding what weapons to carry for self-defense. In  most cases you should be okay with discreet self-defense weapons like a sap cap for example. No one knows it’s weighted unless you have to use it.

Sales Reps

If you spend time in your car because your occupation requires you to travel to different areas to sell products and represent your company, you may dress more formally most of the time. Women especially may be required to wear a suit or dress which can   restrict movement in the event of an emergency. As a sales rep you may want to pay more attention to items from the clothing category to ensure you are prepared to stay warm.

On top of the supplies listed above, sales reps need items during “normal” days that other people may not. Just in case you need to modify or throw together a presentation, and close that sale, keep a stock of extra office supplies in a container in your trunk such as:

  1. extra computer paper
  2. Glue or scotch tape
  3. Scissors
  4. extra company pamphlets
  5. foam core panels for presentations
  6. Markers
  7. Velcro
  8. Flash drive with company letterhead saved on it
  9. Spare laptop battery or wall charger

If you’re someone who travels frequently for work, consider using your vehicle to carry additional survival supplies. Even without a SHTF event, there are times when we could help ourselves or others if only we had the right tools and equipment on hand when something unexpected happens. Did we miss any items for your car, you think should be included? Let us know in the comments below.

The post 73 EDC Items to Keep in Your Car appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

How to Stockpile Emergency Water

One of the greatest challenges to preparing your retreat for when SHTF is knowing how much water to store and how to store it.

In a disaster situation, you never know what may happen to your water sources – you may be unable to collect water for a long period of time, or have to fend off zombies from stealing your water, or may be unable to so much as leave your home. Any number of things could cause you to lose your water sources.

The big questions, then, are how much water should you store, and how do you store it? Planning for the day you can’t turn on your faucet for water will be crucial to your survival in a disaster.

How Much Water Do You Need?

Because you never know what will happen at TEOTWAWKI, we are going to assume that in the event of a disaster, you will be completely unable to access any external source of water. This means you will only be able to live off of your stockpile alone. While this may not be true, it is better to plan for the worst, than to plan for the best.

The first thing to consider when planning how much to stockpile is how much water you (and your family) will need to consume in order to survive. One common mistake a lot of preppers make is hoarding too much food and not enough water. To explain this, we refer to the rule of 3s:

  • You can live for 3 minutes without air.
  • You can live for 3 hours without shelter.
  • You can live for 3 days without water.
  • You can live for 3 weeks without food.

If you’re preparing, now, though, you have the luxury of being able to plan to have all four of these things. But taking one for granted and over preparing for the others could be a fatal mistake.

One common guideline for storing water is that one active person will generally need a gallon of water per day. Half of this will be consumed, while the other half is for personal hygiene. This technically means you can store less and simply not be as hygienic, but that comes with its own problems for survival as well (namely, disease and other such things).

Here are some other questions:

  • Is anyone in your household sick or injured?
  • Is anyone in your household pregnant or nursing?
  • Do you have any children in your household?
  • Do you live in a very hot climate?

If you answered yes to any of these, you may have a greater demand for water (up to double or triple the normal amount).

We will continue with the assumption that one person needs one gallon per day, but keep in mind any extenuating circumstances you may have that may alter individual water needs. Here’s a table with some easy calculations for stockpiling:

Number of People in Household Length of Time Water Needed
1 3 months 90 gallons
1 1 year 365 gallons
2 3 months 180 gallons
2 1 year 730 gallons
4 3 months 360 gallons
4 1 year 1,460 gallons
4 3 years 4,380 gallons

Again, this is accounting for consumption and personal hygiene only. This does not include pets, gardening, or any other use for water. Pets generally need a gallon of water every three days (depending on the size of the pet and type).

However, if you’re bugging in, we will simply assume that you are unable to tend to livestock or outside gardens. You will need some water for cooking, but this is dependent on what food you are cooking and how much of. If you are limited on fuel as well, you may not even be doing much cooking, so this number really depends on your situation.

Our advice? Stockpile what you know you’ll need based on our table above, then stockpile some more for cooking and other needs you may have.

Where Should You Store Your Water?

There are a number of containers available for storing water; however, some are more suitable for this purpose than others. For example, you should generally not reuse milk jugs to store water, as it is nearly impossible to fully remove the milk proteins from the container, and these will eventually provide a habitat for bacteria to grow in. Other types of plastic may release toxic chemicals into your water.

So how do you know what’s safe? First, let’s talk about plastic containers. There are seven commonly used types of plastic:

  • Polyethylene terephthalate (PET/PETE/polyester)
  • High density polyethylene (HDPE)
  • Polyvinyl chloride (V/Vinyl/PVC)
  • Low density polyethylene (LDPE)
  • Polypropylene (PP)
  • Polystyrene (PS)
  • Other/Polycarbonate (PC)

The three types that are considered safe for common use around food and drink are: high density polyethylene (HDPE), low density polyethylene (LDPE), and polypropylene (PP). However, this is very dependent on the conditions that the containers are stored in. For example, PET/PETE is commonly used in soda bottles and juice bottles, and if you’re not storing water for a very long time and the bottles are not stored in hot conditions, the likelihood that PET/PETE will leak chemicals into the water is low.

Even with plastic containers made from HDPE or LDPE, however, there is a chance that they can leak the chemical nonylphenol (short explanation: this is bad) into your water if they are stored in sunlight. Polypropylene (PP) is commonly used for hot food storage because it will not leak chemicals with the application of heat.

What it really comes down to is this, then: where can you store your water? Do you have a cool area available that doesn’t get any UV exposure? Then you may be able to simply reuse 2-liter bottles from soda to build up your stockpile (given that you properly wash all the containers you use).

This might be a good option for urban dwellers who lack space to store enormous containers of water, but for anyone who owns a home or retreat (or both), it might be feasible to store your water in even larger containers. For this purpose, there are containers sold specifically for water that come in sizes from 2.5-gallons to 500-whopping-gallons. Some great (BPA-free) options are below:

Many of these containers can also be bought at retailers, like Walmart, Target, your local sports store, and more. There are plenty of options for whatever space you have to store your water in, and for how much water you want to store. Some containers are collapsible, while some are meant to be stacked.

The container you buy depends on your situation. For plastic, so long as you make sure to check what kind of plastic it is and how you store it, you should be good to go in an emergency. What if you want to store your water in containers made of some other material, however?

Glass

Glass is another option for storing water, but may be less convenient than plastic for a number of reasons. First, it is heavy and easily breakable. Like plastic, you will need to be sure it is food-grade glass and stored in a cool, dark area.

Some upsides: Glass is impermeable, so it can be stored near other supplies without the water being at risk, and it will be much harder for pests or rodents to get into. Over time, vapors from stored fuel or other chemicals can penetrate plastic; on top of that, plastic is easier for pests or rodents to get into. Not only that, but glass will be much harder for zombies to steal because of its weight (not that it would be easy to make off with a 260-gallon water tank in the first place!).

Metal

The best option for storing water in a metal container is by far and away stainless steel, but one major downside is that large stainless steel containers for water cost much more than plastic. Some upsides are that, like glass, stainless steel is impermeable so vapors from nearby stored chemicals won’t eventually leak into the water. It’s also lighter than glass, so if you want to move your stores around, it will be easier.

Metal can also be stored somewhere that gets a lot of light, unlike glass and plastic. However, you should still check that your stainless steel is food-grade, and on top of that, you’ll probably want some sort of protective coating on the inside to prevent the chlorine from your tap water corroding the steel.

No matter what you decide to store your water in, do your research on the material and any precautions you need to take. You don’t want to end up in a disaster with contaminated water. In fact, because it can be so easily contaminated, most preppers filter their water in various ways to be sure it is still safe.

Watch these YouTube video reviews for more:

How Do You Filter and Purify Your Water?

There are a variety of options for filtering your water stockpile, including:

  • Using a store-bought filtration and purification system. These come in all shapes and sizes; it’s best to choose the one that suits your situation best. Be sure to look for a system that both filters and purifies the water, as these are technically two different processes (one to remove dirt/sediment/etc. and one to remove viruses and bacteria).
  • Boiling the water to kill any viruses or bacteria that may be present. If you use this method, be sure to boil the water for at least three minutes to ensure that it is safe.
  • Using a chemical like bleach (about 8 drops to every gallon), iodine, or chlorine. You should take care with chemicals, as the material that you store your water in could react with them. You also will want to make sure that you don’t use too much, as this could be harmful when you drink the water as well.

Even if your water was clean when it went into storage, there’s no guarantee that it’s still safe after being stored. Having a filtration and purification system in place ensures that your storage water remains safe for consumption. Some people even suggest rotating your water supply every 6 months to a year, but there’s very little evidence for its effectiveness.

Should You Have More Than One Stockpile? (Short Answer: Yes!)

Many people recommend having more than one stockpile in more than one place if you want to be truly prepared. This is a great option for anyone who has a retreat or a lot of space, because it ensures that you have a location for bugging out when you need to.

This also means that if your stored water supply in one place happens to go bad for whatever reason, you’ll have somewhere else with water to run to. It’s always good to have a backup plan, even for your backup plan.

The post How to Stockpile Emergency Water appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

The Application of Bees in Home Defense and Fortification

When you talk or think of bees when it comes to a homestead or post collapse scenario, their job as pollinators for the crops or being a food producer themselves by giving us honey is what comes to mind first for many.

But throughout history, and even today, they have been used as a way to fortify your property and protect it. Currently, they are used in a few new applications by the military for innovations in agriculture and for tiny antiterrorism agents in a branch called entomological warfare.

Honey collecting has been around quite a while, with the first honey collectors depicted on rock paintings that date them to 15,000 BC. Collecting honey turned to cultivating honey by raising your own bees is recorded in Egyptian hieroglyphics showing bees as an important food resource. Bees and their honey are mentioned in the bible and many other religious texts and in epics such as Homer’s Odyssey.

Beekeeping in spring video:

We have a great article on the uses of honey from food stuff to medicinal healing agent in pets for shock, but today to celebrate the multitalented bee for National Honey Month we will look at its diversity and some additional ways to use this producer of liquid gold for survival purposes.

Bees were used in many ways for defense, from basic strategic placement on the property or built into defense themselves, to being used as living heat seeking missiles that as anyone that has had a run in with bees knows, are hard to evade in anyway but fleeing.

Using the hives as a living barrier

In a tactic that Kenya still currently uses to curtail invasions by elephants, one way to use beehives to protect land is to hang them up and string them in a fencelike formation. Elephants will raid crops and trample anything surrounding their target food they want. It turns out elephants will avoid bees as they get in their trunks and disrupt their equilibrium.

elephant bees

So Kenyans started wiring the hives on the borders of their farms and it has deterred the scavenging elephants, who consumed whole crops in one raid often stomping down housing structures in the process. The hives were given woven roofs for sun protection and basically make a living, tactical defensive fence.

This can be utilized by homesteaders and urban farmers. Make not-so-obvious beehives to protect the borders of your farm or land by camouflaging them into the natural barriers. Bee venom seems to affect everyone, and not many intruders or foraging animals stay the course when bees are present and the pain they can bring when disturbed.

Places to incorporate beehives can be: 

  • Around the garden to protect it from hungry passersby human and animals
  • Near the door to dissuade solicitors or people casing the place from looking in windowsand doors
  • Hang them as a barrier line to prevent intruders or hunting parties from accidentally coming onto your land and taking resources.
  • Outline your homestead or secure the property to turn back predatorswith well-placed hives.
  • Making Living Landmines by burying half of the hive can be a strategy for home owners.

false back hive

Using the nest as an organic bomb

Besides the hive being placed strategically, the nest itself can be weaponized and has been documented in a few ways as throwing little heat seeking missiles in historic battles.

In an ancient text it describes the Mayans as making Trojan horse mannequin warriors to run off the soldiers overtaking the city in a siege. The mannequins had shields and spears and everything, but their heads were gourds were filled with bees, wasps, and hornets. When the invading parties came into the city and shot the mannequins the little guardians were released letting the Mayans reclaim their city. This technique was also used to reclaim the city of Alba from the Turks in the 18th century.

The Romans used bees extensively in catapults and as hand thrown weapons. King Richard in the 12th century used them as cannon fodder against the Saracens. When catapults were one of the only ways to scale the walls of a keep or a castle, we have heard of “plague dogs” being lobbed over, but there is documentation that they used bees to clear an area quick by using bee hives as a one lump of nasty living projectile that would be pretty upset when it hit.

In the 14th century the Moors and Portuguese used bees on both sides in their warfare. Back then they made woven baskets from grasses, straw, and cane called “skeps,” and when it came to war these were collected and used as weapons.

skep

This also worked the other way, instead of pouring hot oil or tar upon forces trying to invade the castle, bee skeps were dropped upon them as living grenades. Books such as Robbing the Bees mentions several examples of these “bee grenades” and hurling of the skeps unto enemies, with one of the oldest references going back before the birth of Christ by about 400 years!

castle keep

For modern times both sides employed bee hives to reroute out enemy troops. In the American Civil War, troops would parallel bee farms and use cannons to turn back opposing forces into waiting troops.

Hang them in strategic spots as a living bomb. When danger is near, shoot them and drop the nest onto the path of emerging raiders or hostiles. Nothing can change the odds faster than a swarm of angry bees coming after a hostile and buying you time to get gone.

Traditional beekeeping video:

Honey as a weapon

Beekeepers are aware that honey produced during certain times of the year or in certain areas that some strains of plants grow that may be poisonous when consumed by humans. Plants such as the azalea and rhododendron have strains that contain strong alkaloids when in bloom. Usually honey collected and produced during these periods would be removed so it doesn’t contaminate the rest of the batch.

  • In ancient texts it describes Roman troops from Pompeii coming upon a cache of honey and thinking it left in a hurry, they consumed it as spoils of war. Once the deliriousness set in and the vomiting began, the defending Heptakometes moved in and claimed an easy victory and defense.
  • The Tiv of Nigeria uses bees coated in special poisonous dust were kept in horns and then released in the mist of warfare for a poison needle attack.
  • Many survivalists say you can collect the venom of bees and make a super saturated toxin to put in the tips of arrows and defenses, for emergencies.

Entomological warfare

Because a bee’s smell has been shown to be as keen as a dog’s, training a dog takes a lot longer and is several thousand more dollars. In the USA bees are being used as explosive sniffing detectors. The US military is using bees to detect landmines and facilities that may be a manufacturer or supplier of explosives.

In Great Britain, the tests have been going on longer there and they have been using bees at airports such as the experiments conducted at Heathrow airport. The load 36 bees in hand detectors then pass that over the luggage and in personal searches. The detectors are equipped with infrared sensors that can tell when the bee sticks out his tongue, his sign for the presence of dangerous explosives or chemicals. A bomb squad is then called in to investigate further.

Using this system, the US is employing bees for passenger plane and cargo ship inspections. This training includes finding poisonous gases and biochemical agents.  Training bees is a lot simpler than dogs too; they can be bribed with treats loaded with sugar. They expose the bee to the chemical or compound, and then follow up with a sugar loaded goody such as syrup.  In less than 5 exposures the bees are said to associate the connection with the dangerous compound and the treat, classic Pavlovian response.  So the odor of the compound or substance will elicit the bees to stick out their tongues, or proboscis, and that way the scientists or trainers can determine if the substance or compound is there.

In this fashion, bees are being trained in other realms and applications that a sharp nose can help.

In different scientific arenas the bees are being trained to detect:

  • The lifesaving early detection of cancer
  • Early detection of diseases such as dementia or TB
  • Determining counterfeit products or substances
  • Spoiled food sources
  • Tampered supplies
  • Decaying food
  • Rot and fungus in wood such as timber to prevent collapses
  • Tainted water
  • Contaminated soils

In many ways a home beekeeper may be able to train his bees. Imagine if you wanted to find pure water or a source of berries. You could introduce it to your bees, and then treat him a few dozen times. Maybe use a dozen bees so you can follow them. He may buzz around then want his reward. Maybe then you can follow your little Seeing Eye dogs to new fresh resource.

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